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Cat Teeth Cleaning: How to Clean Cat's Teeth

Your feline friend needs their teeth for cleaning, playing and eating. Preventive care is crucial to keeping their pearly whites healthy. Here, our Toledo vets discuss the importance of professional veterinary dental care and offer advice on how to clean your cat's teeth.

The Importance of Cleaning Your Cat's Teeth

Your cat will likely hide any pain that they may be feeling. You may not know that anything is happening until the pain is so great they are unable to hide it. Because of this, owners need to be conscious of their feline companion's oral health and keep their furry companion's teeth clean. By monitoring and regularly cleaning your cat's teeth, you can detect oral health issues early and help your cat avoid pain and expensive treatment.

Signs of Oral Health Issues in Cats

Are you concerned that your cat might show signs of oral health issues during their regular visits? If you notice these common symptoms, it's time to contact your vet:

  • Teeth with discoloration or tartar buildup
  • Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
  • Loose or broken teeth
  • A foul odor coming from the mouth
  • Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Pain or swelling in or around the mouth

How to Clean a Cat's Teeth

You should dedicate yourself to doing daily oral hygiene with your cat. By brushing their teeth and cleaning their mouth daily, you can help ensure that their oral structures remain healthy for life. To make cleaning your cat's teeth at home as easy and stress-free as possible, establish a daily oral hygiene routine while they are still a kitten. This way, your cat will be accustomed to having its teeth brushed and mouth touched from a young age.

Strive to make brushing your cat's teeth a stress-free and easy part of your kitty's daily routine. Once you find that your cat is nice and relaxed, you can begin with the following steps:

  1. Gently lift your cat's lips, then use your finger to massage their teeth and gums for just a few seconds.
  2. Don't expect too much from your cat at first. You may only be able to reach a couple of teeth the first few times you try this process. That's okay. This is about building trust in your cat to help prevent them from becoming agitated. 
  3. Remain calm, and give lots of praise and a yummy treat after your teeth-and-gum massage. You're trying to build your cat’s tolerance to the experience by gradually increasing the time you spend on the task each day.
  4. Once your feline friend is used to you massaging their gums each day, you will be able to gradually introduce a soft-bristled toothbrush you can acquire from your vet and some special cat toothpaste. Toothpaste can come in various flavors for cats, like beef or chicken.
  5. Use the toothbrush as gradually as you did the teeth-and-gum massage; your cat may begin by licking just a small dab of toothpaste from your finger. 

What happens when you bring a cat to the dentist for teeth cleaning?

Bringing your cat for a veterinary dentistry appointment is like visiting an animal dentist. Your vet will evaluate your cat's oral health, take X-rays if necessary, and do a thorough cleaning.

During the cleaning, your vet will remove tartar above and below the gum line. Tartar below the gum line causes the most significant periodontal disease, so removal is important. Unfortunately, if periodontal disease has progressed, saving the teeth may not be possible, and they will need to be extracted. After scaling, the teeth are polished to decrease the rate of plaque build-up.

If your cat suffers from a mouth injury, tooth loss, or severe decay, your pet's 'dentist' will provide recommendations regarding care or surgery to treat your cat's oral health issues.

How can I prevent tartar accumulation after the procedure?

Caring for your cat's oral health once at home is extremely important. This is because plaque and bacteria form in as little as six hours after dental cleaning. Your vet will provide detailed instructions on caring for your cat's teeth at home. This can include the steps outlined above. They will also recommend a routine professional dental care schedule. This will ensure that your cat has regular dental examinations and cleanings to help them achieve optimal oral health.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Dental care is a vital part of ongoing healthcare for your furry friend. Contact our vets in Toledo today to schedule an appointment.

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Shoreland Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our veterinary team is passionate about the health of Toledo pets and is looking forward to meeting you and your furry friend. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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