Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Cat Teeth Cleaning: How to Clean Cat's Teeth?

Like us, cats can experience oral health issues, so pet parents must take proactive steps to keep their cats' or kittens' teeth clean. Today, our vets across Apple Valley share tips on establishing a successful oral healthcare routine for your feline friend.

Keeping Your Cat's Teeth Clean

Cats are stoic animals well-known for hiding physical pain and discomfort until any underlying health issues have advanced. Nonetheless, our feline friends can experience oral health issues, which can be painful or even detrimental to their overall health and well-being.

If you're a cat parent, it's essential to be diligent about your kitty's oral health and keep your furry companion's teeth clean. Being proactive about your cat's oral health can help to prevent your cat from developing painful oral health problems, or help to detect and treat minor issues before they develop into more serious concerns. A proactive approach to your pet's dental health may also help you avoid needing your cat to undergo expensive procedures to address issues that could have been prevented.

Annual Dental Checkups to Maintain Feline Dental Health

When you schedule your cat's annual veterinary examination next time, make sure to ask for a dental checkup as part of the appointment. This will enable your vet to assess your cat's oral health and overall physical condition and inform you if your kitty needs professional dental cleaning or surgery.

A Daily Dental Care Routine for Your Kitty

It's estimated that over 70% of cats develop tooth and gum disease by the age of 3 years old. Starting a daily oral care routine early can help your cat avoid dental issues.

The best time to begin a regular tooth brushing routine for your cat is while they're still young. However, it's advisable to consult your vet first. Even a sweet young kitten could have oral health issues that require attention before brushing their teeth.

Brushing Your Cat's Teeth

Needless to say, you'll want to ease your cat into a new toothbrushing routine to help keep them calm and relaxed throughout the process. Here's how you should brush your cat's teeth.

  1. Gently lift their lips, then use your finger to massage their teeth and gums for a few seconds.
  2. Adjust your expectations - you may only reach one or two teeth the first few times you try this. Stop before your cat gets too annoyed.
  3. Give lots of praise and a yummy treat after your teeth-and-gum massage. The goal is to build your cat's tolerance to the experience, gradually increasing the length of time you spend on the task.
  4. Once your kitty has become used to having you massage their teeth and gums regularly, you can gradually introduce a toothbrush and toothpaste designed especially for cats (never use your personal toothpaste, as it contains toxic ingredients to animals). Look for pet toothpaste flavors, such as beef or chicken, that appeal to cats.
  5. Start with the brushing 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 (you may even have the opportunity to try a few different flavors to see what your cat likes). Find a brush that has soft bristles made for cats' delicate gums.

Some pet parents successfully clean their cat's teeth using a small piece of soft gauze, while others prefer a finger brush for their felines. Another approach involves applying dental gel to the cat's teeth using either a toothbrush or a finger, allowing the gel to do the work.

When brushing your cat's teeth, move along the gum line quickly but calmly, stopping before your cat becomes irritated. It's important to note that it may take weeks before your kitty tolerates having all of their teeth cleaned within a single session.

Alternatives to Brushing

If brushing stresses your cat too much, they may react by struggling, scratching, or biting. If your cat experiences this, you might consider mixing additives such as plaque remover into their drinking water, supplying specially designed chew toys, or providing dental treats and plaque-fighting cat food. 

Remember, whichever method you choose to keep your cat's teeth clean, your kitty also needs annual professional dental cleaning by a qualified veterinarian to maintain their teeth in tip-top condition.

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.

If you suspect your cat might have dental health issues such as gum disease or cavities, don't hesitate to contact our team to schedule an appointment immediately. Our vets in Apple Valley deliver dental care for your beloved pet.

Contact Us, Apple Valley Vets

Caring for Pets in Apple Valley

Apple Valley Animal Hospital accepts new clients to our specialty services and 24/7 emergency services.

Request Appointment

Book Online (760) 242-5400