Meow Cheese! Pampering your Cat's Teeth Can Lead to a Long Life

December 03, 2017

Just like humans, a cat's teeth needs to be well cared for in order to ensure a long and healthy life.  Cats are prone to gingivitis and periodontal disease, which can result in the permanent loss of teeth.  Properly caring for your cat's teeth can not only ensure that she lives happily and healthily, but the time spent together taking care of her teeth can also help establish a bond between the two of you. Here are seven tips to getting your cat started on a lifelong program of good oral health.

1.  Begin by examining your cat's teeth and gums.  You will want to do this in a location with lots of clear, natural light where you can get a good view of her mouth.  A penlight and small dental mirror may come in handy for this examination, as well.

As unpleasant as you may find this, dentists and veterinarians suggest that you begin by making note of the smell of your cat's breath.  If your cat's breath has a distinctly foul odor, your cat may be suffering from some kind of infection, most commonly a gum infection.  If your cat's bad breath persists, even after regular brushing and maintenance, pay a visit to your vet. 

Many people are wary when first attempting to examine their cat's teeth.  The trick is to approach your cat calmly.  Speak to your cat as you would any other time, petting her head continuously as you prepare to open her mouth.  Once your cat seems relaxed, slowly tip her head back and use your fingers to pry her mouth slightly open.  Examine the teeth for signs of plaque, the sticky bacterial substance that causes cavities.  Early signs of plaque consist of yellowing at the back of the teeth, although in severe cases you may find it near the front of your cat's mouth.  You will also want to check for tartar, which is slightly darker than plaque. 

Examine your cat's mouth for broken or missing teeth.  Your cat's gums should be a healthy bright pink.  If they are red or very pale, your cat may be suffering from an infection.  Any sign of abscesses, bleeding, or irregular colors should be checked out by your vet as soon as possible.

2.  Begin a regular oral hygiene program that includes regular teeth cleaning.  If your cat is new to having its teeth cleaned, begin by using your index finger as a toothbrush.  Wrap your 'finger' brush with sterile gauze, dip the tip of your finger into a bit of toothpaste, and slowly open your cat's mouth.  Use your finger brush to very gently rub the paste against your cat's teeth and gums.  While you brush your cat's teeth, it may help to play soothing music and talk to her.  Once you cat has gotten used to the routine, you may graduate to a small child's toothbrush.

Experiment with different flavors of toothpaste to see which kind your cat seems to enjoy best.  As a reward for her cooperation, feed your kitty a small dental treat after each teeth-cleaning session. 

3.  Feeding your kitty high quality kibble is essential.  In order to ensure that your cat benefits from a regular oral hygiene program, make sure she munches only on high quality kibble.  While most cats love the taste of moist cat food, your cat needs the dry, crunchy texture of dry kibble to keep her teeth strong and clean.  You will want to inspect the ingredients to make sure the kibble does not contain artificial preservatives and flavorings, as these are usually hard on the teeth. 

4.  Treat your kitty to special dental treats. If your cat seems to take to the oral hygiene program, treat her to some special dental treats.  Many cat owners are surprised to learn of the variety of oral care products available for cats.  For the sweet and cooperative cat that enjoys the pleasures of good oral care, buy her s some special dental treats, such as Petrodex Dental Treats for cats.  These special fish-flavored treats are specially formulated to cleanse and freshen you’re kitty's breath while killing plaque and tartar.  Another special gift for your kitty is the C.E.T. Cat Oral Hygiene Kit.  This kit comes with everything you need to keep your cat's mouth healthy, including a special seafood-flavored toothpaste, finger brush, and a special toothbrush designed for the size of the average cat's mouth. 

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