5 Facts To Know About Cleaning A Cat's Teeth

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You want your cat to have a long and happy life. Dental cleaning plays a vital part in your cat's long-term health. A cat should be able to enjoy its favorite food without pain while chewing. Poor dental care can also lead to other illnesses. The bacteria that grow in inflamed gum tissue spread to the rest of the body, causing the immune system to work harder. Starting dental care as young as you can with a cat will help them live a long and healthy life. Here are five facts that you should know about cleaning your cat's teeth.

Start as Early as Possible

Get your cat used to having their teeth cleaned as early as possible in life. While obviously not all cats are adopted as kittens, it can take weeks or months for a cat to get used to the process. Using flavored toothpaste might help get the cat interested in the idea of a short brushing session once a day. If you find a tooth paste that your cat likes but are still having problems using a tooth brush, gauze wrapped around an index finger can also be used.

The paste needs to make contact with all of the teeth and should be moved around on the surfaces to release plaque and food residue. Getting your cat used to dental cleaning from an early age will improve their health for the years to come, but it's never too late to start with an older cat either.

Get Professional Help

Some cats will just refuse to let you brush their teeth at all. If that is the case, you can have their teeth cleaned annually by a vet. Cats that are too stressed out or aggressive during the cleaning will need sedation. This allows the vet to do a more detailed cleaning without having to restrain your cat the whole way. Professional cleanings are usually performed once a year unless the vet recommends a more rigorous routine due to other oral health issues.

Pay for Routine Checkups

Regular brushing alone is not enough to maintain your cat's oral health. A once-a-year routine checkup can help catch a dental problem before they occur. If you notice your cat has really bad breath or bleeding gums, you should take them in for an immediate oral exam. You also want to take them in any time are having a hard time eating.

Catching the problem early will allow the vet to start treatment immediately and ensure a speedy recovery. Even if you brush daily, you should still have your cat's teeth at least inspected once a year to see if they need a deep cleaning. With the right foods and vigilant home care, your cat may not need a vet's cleaning services for multiple years at a time.

Consider Alternative Methods

If you are having a hard time brushing, you might want to consider other pet dental products. Special tooth-cleaning treats and plaque-loosening water additives are two great ways to improve your cat's oral hygiene. There are also gel cleaners that can be fed as a treat rather than applied by brush. None of these things can replace brushing your cat's teeth or getting a deep cleaning from a vet, but they can improve your cat's oral hygiene between vet visits if they refuse to be brushed.

Mix Up the Diet

Wild cats' teeth are cleaned by the fiber and even bones of the small animals they eat. Since you're not going to feed them those kinds of foods, it's best to offer meals of both wet and dry food throughout the day. Dry food cleans food particles off the teeth, while wet foods are easily removed from the teeth by that chewing action. Make sure to gradually introduce new foods to a cat's diet.

To learn more, contact a pet hospital like Baywood Animal Hospital.