health is very important for your cat. It is recommended
that you brush their teeth a few times a week, if not daily.
There are special toothbrushes and toothpaste sold in pet stores
- never use human toothpaste. There are also cat food brands
and treats that boast their efforts in keeping your cat's teeth
healthy. Your local pet store may also carry other products
to clean your cat's teeth, such as tablets that can be given
to your cat as a treat or mixed in with their food.
Their gums should always be nice and pink, and should never bleed. If
you notice redness, swelling, or bleeding, contact your veterinarian. Your
cat's breath also should never smell - of course it will smell of their food,
but if they have very foul breath something is wrong. Even though your
cat will eat normally and may not show pain, it doesn't mean he's not hurting. By
nature cats hide their weakness so that they always appear strong.
stages of periodontal disease can happen in your cat's mouth
without dental care:
•Red, inflamed gums (gingivitis)
•Redness, swelling (edema) and bleeding
by malodor (halitosis).
•Bone loss and damage to soft-tissue support
of tooth is present
(periodontitis), grayish pus oozes from under the gumline.
•Severe bone loss - tooth becomes loose
and may be lost or require
list was taken from Say "Aaaaah," Cat
Fancy, February 2003)
yearly cleaning should also be scheduled with your veterinarian.
A lot of owners will laugh at this, thinking that dental care
for their pets is just merely for cosmetic purposes. However,
60% of problems with cats' teeth occur below the gumline and
sometimes can not be detected by a regular check-up. These
dental visits are performed under anesthesia, which allows your
veterinarian to take care of x-rays, extractions, and surgery
(if needed) along with a regular cleaning, which includes a thorough
cleaning above and below the gum line along with a polishing
(allows inflamed gums to reattach to teeth). This is followed
by an antiseptic rinse to remove debris and bacteria, and a fluoride
treatment strengthens tooth enamel. Each tooth is checked with
a periodontal probe to look for gingival pockets. If these
pockets are found, either periodontal surgery or application
of a perioceutic (a long-acting antibiotic gel injected into
the pockets) will be performed. The vet will also take
x-rays, which can detect problems in the jawbone or tooth roots
- if these problems are found, extraction may be necessary. Endodontics
(root canal) or "surgical placement of a synthetic bioactive
ceramic to stimulate regeneration of bone and periodontal ligament
can now help save teeth once considered hopeless."
"Aaaaah," Cat Fancy, February 2003)
is dental health month for cats. Use this as a reminder
to schedule a professional cleaning with your vet.
your cat's teeth should start when he is a kitten to get him
used to it. You really should put aside a few minutes
every morning or night (whenever it works into your schedule)
to brush your cat's teeth. It takes only a few minutes
and can keep your cat from experiencing any pain.
brush your cat's teeth, I recommend holding him up on a kitchen
counter facing away from you, his body held up against your
stomach (he should be sitting on all fours and you should
be able to wrap your arm around him to control him). You
can buy a regular toothbrush for your cat, which looks like
a toddler's toothbrush, or a finger brush (pictured at left)
which will slip on over your forefinger. I found the
finger brush to be easier to use while you're holding a cat
that doesn't really want their teeth brushed.
the hand that you have wrapped around your cat, lift up one side
of his upper lip. In a circular motion, brush he teeth
and along his gums. Repeat
on the other side, the front top, and all along the bottom. You only
need to clean the outer surface of the teeth because cats do not form tartar
next to their tongue or palate. Start out slowly - maybe the first time
you do it, you can only get one side done. You want to restrain your
cat as little as possible to avoid turning "toothbrush time" into
a negative experience. Follow with treats and lots of praise.
can buy toothpaste at the pet store also, but I recommend the
meat flavored pastes from C.E.T.
Dental. You can get their products from your veterinarian
or you can order them online - Petsnmore has
very good prices, as well as a large selection of their products. C.E.T.
Dental also offers dental rinses and gels, along with chews for
your cat. Experiment with all of them and see what works
for your cat.