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Dental Care Plan for Cats

Optimize your cat's health with a regular dental care routine

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Simon brushing his teeth

Simon loves his toothbrush

Photo Credit: © GalensGranny
If you understand the importance of a regular dental care routine for your cat, you're probably ready to start one now. If you need convincing, or you think just feeding dry food will handle "teeth cleaning," read "Open Wide, Kitty." Veterinary professionals advise a three-step program for maintenance of your cat's teeth and gums.

Veterinarian's Three-Step Program for Cats' Dental Needs

  1. Veterinary Dental Exam
    Your veterinarian will look for plaque and calculus, oral lesions, and signs of gingivitis or stomatitis. If indicated, s/he will clean and scale kitty's teeth
  2. Home Dental Care
    See details below.
  3. Annual Veterinary Re-examinations Make it a point to ask your veterinarian to check kitty's teeth at her annual checkup. If your cat has shown any sign of dental disease, increase the oral checkups to at least twice yearly.

Home Dental Care Plan

  • Brush
    Brush daily, if possible, and at least twice-weekly. Special cat-sized toothbrushes are available, also one that slips over your index finger. Experts recommend starting early with kittens and a tuna-juice soaked brush. Specially flavored pet toothpastes help make the brushing a "treat" for your cat. Don't try to do the whole mouth the first day, just one tooth will suffice. Once kitty gets used to the idea, you can add more teeth each day.
  • Home Oral Examination
    Once your cat has gotten used to a daily toothbrushing, you can add a complete mouth examination routinely. This should be done two or three times a month. Better yet, do it weekly on the same day of the week, so you won't forget.
  • Rinse
    Other products for cats with especially tender mouths, or who already have dental problems include antiseptic dental gels, rinses, and sprays. Although not a substitute for brushing, rinsing also helps protect and clean teeth on days you can't brush.
  • Chew
    Several pharmaceutical companies offer dental chews for cats. Flavored with fish or poultry, these chews offer an abrasive texture, which may help remove food debris and plaque from your cat's teeth. Cat owners who feed raw may offer raw chicken wing tips for the same purpose.
  • Floss!
    No kidding. Rope-type chew toys claim to provide a flossing action.

With a regular at-home dental maintenance program, combined with veterinary dental examinations, your cat should be assured of sound dental health for life. This is a very good thing, because cats don't wear dentures.

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