Cats have teeth, so cat owners need to pay attention to cat dental care. It is not something that we often consider necessary, but some common sense can ensure that your cat and his or her teeth remain healthy. Preventing peridontal disease, feline stomatitis, FORL, and malocclusion through a good cat dental care habit is easier than most people realize.
Your cat dental care program should include a simple at-home examination of the teeth and gums. You might want to have a pen light handy. Before anything else, check your pet’s breath. Carefully, with your thumb and index finger, spread your cat’s mouth open and look at the back teeth for signs of yellowing or darker material, and take note of the color of the cat’s gums. Then repeat this for the front teeth. You should also look at the back of the cat’s throat for anything unusual, like a cobblestone texture or redness. Having a small angled dental mirror will make this task easier. Do not forget to reward your cat for being patient with you, perhaps with a dental chew. This should be done once a month or so and should be followed by a check by the vet once or twice a year.
Another major thing you should be doing as part of your cat dental care practices is brushing your cat’s teeth at least a couple times a week, although daily is better. To start with, you should use your finger, so that the cat gets used to the process. You will need to have sterile gauze, scissors, cat toothpaste or a vet recommended weak sterile solution. Be aware that cat toothpaste comes in several flavors so you should experiment to find one your cat likes. You will want to have these things laid out, and be sitting with your cat in your lap- preferably on something that will keep the cat from clawing you if they protest too much. Begin by wrapping a strip of gauze on the index finger of your dominant hand. Dip the gauze in the solution or apply a dab of toothpaste to the tip of your finger. That done you need to open the cat’s mouth. Your gauze wrapped finger is your brush, and you will want to gently rub the cat’s teeth and gums in a light circular pattern. You need not worry about the backs of the teeth, just get the outsides and the gums clean. If you notice bleeding gums then you should take your cat to the vet.
Two major tips to make cat dental care easier. First, start while the cat is young to get them used to having it done. That way, by the time a baby toothbrush will fit the cat’s mouth, he or she will be used to your brushing his or her teeth. Secondly, always reward your cat for being good. This is an excellent time to offer a dental chew and a lot of love to your pet.