How to Care for Your Cats Teeth, #CatDentalHealth

How to Care for Your Cats Teeth

Pets Dental Health Month

Every year, the The American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA),and the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), among others, join together to educate pet owners to the importance of regular dental care of their pets during Pet Dental Health Month.

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS):

Gingivitis and periodontal disease in cats is so prominent that 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age three, and 85% of all adult pets have periodontal disease.  If left untreated, harmful bacteria from the oral cavity can spread throughout the bloodstream to infect the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys.

Therefore, one of the best and most important things that you can do for the health of your cat is to maintain a regular dental care routine.  Following are tips and ideas to help you do that.

How to Care for Your Cats Teeth, #CatDentalHealth

How to Care for Your Cats Teeth – What to Look For

Healthy teeth and gums are crucial for the health of your cat so it’s important to know the signs of an unhealthy condition.  Not only can bacteria and infection move to the pet’s internal organs through the bloodstream, but a cat with an unhealthy mouth may not be able to eat as it should.  Follow this link to know how to examine your cat’s teeth and gums.  Following are the things to look out for.

Does your cat have bad breath?  I’m not talking about the smell after he’s eaten fishy cat food now.  I’m talking about the smell in general.  If you do notice that it’s abnormally strong, your pet may have gingivitis.  Take him to the vet to be examined.  It may not be too late to correct this.  Left unchecked, it will lead to bigger problems.

Are your cat’s gums healthy?  Your feline should have nice pink gums.  If they are red, white, puffy, or bloody, your cat has a problem.  Inflammation of the gums can lead to tooth loss and/or ability to eat.  Note that Inflammation may also point to an internal problem like kidney disease or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus.

What about the teeth?  The teeth should look clean and white.  Brownish teeth are unhealthy teeth.  Plaque buildup, which hardens into tartar, can cause gingivitis, receding gums and tooth loss.  None of the teeth should be broken or loose.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (ASPCA) says to watch for any of the following signs that could indicate problems in your cat’s mouth:

  • Dark red line along the gums
  • Red and swollen gums
  • Ulcers on gums or tongue
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus
  • Difficulty chewing food
  • Excessive drooling
  • Excessive pawing at the mouth area

How to Care for Your Cats Teeth. #CatDentalHealth

If your cat suffers from any of the symptoms mentioned below, please see the vet right away:

  • Gingivitis: This inflammation of the gums is mainly seen in older cats. It may start as a dark red line bordering on the teeth. If left untreated, gums may become sore and ulceration may occur. May be a sign of FIV or other infection.
  • Periodontitis: If gingivitis invades the tooth socket, the tooth may become loose and an abscess may form.
  • Stomatitis: This inflammation of the mouth lining may result from a foreign body in the mouth, a viral disease or dental problems. The cat will have difficulty eating and the inside of the mouth will appear red.
  • Rodent Ulcer: A slowly enlarging sore or swelling on the upper lip.
  • Salivary Cyst: If salivary glands or ducts that carry saliva to the mouth become blocked, a cyst may form under the tongue.
  • Mouth Ulcers: Ulcers on a cat’s tongue and gums are sometimes caused by feline respiratory or kidney disease.

How to Care for Your Cats Teeth

It is important to know how to clean your cat’s teethRegular tooth-brushing is the preferred, recommended method.  You will need a small (cat’s) toothbrush and feline toothpaste.  You can buy “brushes” that fit over the end of your finger and these work quite well.  Do not use regular toothpaste made for humans.  Or, you can simply use salt and water for brushing.  Ask your vet if he has suggestions as to what is best for your pet’s condition.

NOTE:  It’s important to start when the kitty is young, preferably, or you will have a fight on your hands if you wait until they are older.  (Believe me.)  You can start by getting your kitten used to you massaging her gums with your finger or a cotton swab.  Next introduce the taste of toothpaste, either on your finger or the swab.  Work up gradually to using a toothbrush.

Be gentle, especially of your cat already has gingivitis, swollen or bleeding gums, or loose teeth.

Dental Chew Toys & Treats

There are many chew toys and treats on the market now that taste good and clean your pet’s teeth at the same time.  Included in that is a good gum massage.

The food your cat gets is also important for their dental health.  Ask your vet what she recommends for your cat’s specific mouth condition.


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Save up to 20% select dental treats for your cat at! Offer valid 2/2 to 3/1.

Jeanne Melanson
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25 thoughts on “How to Care for Your Cats Teeth, #CatDentalHealth”

  1. Hey Jeanne, Very insightful and well-written article! The information you have provided about is really outstanding and very worthwhile for me. Thanks for sharing the valuable information with us and I really loved your post. Keep Posting Similar articles.

  2. I am glad that I found this article because I couldn’t remember what my vet had said about cats getting gingivitis. It had to do with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. I couldn’t remember what that was called. Thankfully, along this journey, I have learned the importance of keeping my cat’s mouth healthy.

  3. How often should I brush my cat’s teeth? It would be great to know how often that needs to be done. That way cat owners will be able to better care for their cat and his/her oral health. It would be awful for the oral health of you cat to be in jeopardy because of negligence!

  4. I had no idea that the statistics were so high with oral diseases in cats! I haven’t payed much attention to my cats gums, but after reading this, I’ll be much more on top of it now! I really appreciate the walk-through on the brushing bit, I feel a lot more confident now! Thank you!

    • Hello Petunia. A lot of people don’t realize that the oral health of their pets is as important as oral health for humans. You have to start getting them used to it while they’re still young, however. Truth be told, I have a 17 year old cat here that I would be putting my life in danger if I tried to put my finger or a toothbrush in her mouth. 🙂 Luckily, she’s very healthy and her teeth look strong. Good luck, and thank you for visiting my blog today.

  5. I just adopted a stray cat that had some swollen gums. I took the cat in to the vet to get her teeth cleaning done and I believe that her teeth should be getting healthier. However, the vet suggested that I start brushing my cat’s teeth. How exactly do you get a cat to let you brush their teeth?

  6. It’s so sad when people say, “Cats aren’t really pets, their just comfort animals that need no maintenance.” Cats have feelings, and they need our attention to make sure they’re being taken care of. I learned a lot from this post, and will probably make an appointment with a cat dentist asap. Thank you!

  7. I’m glad that you posted what symptoms to watch out for different dental conditions that my cat may have. My cat has a few teeth that are coming loose. It seems like she may have periodontitis. Now that I’m more positive about what condition she has, it seems like I should take her to a vet to have her mouth treated.

    • Yes, you should probably take her to the vet, Deanna. She may be hurting. It could be difficult to eat properly too. I’m glad you found my post useful. Come see us again sometime. 🙂

  8. I think that a lot of pet owners forget about caring for their pets’ teeth, even though periodontal disease is very common and can cause quite a few problems. Reading more about this makes me worried that my cats have bad dental health, so I would like to start checking to see if my cats have bad breath and to see if their gums look good. If both of these aren’t very healthy, I should probably start looking to get them some dental work done.

    • Yes, it’s so easy to overlook our pets’ teeth. Especially a cat, I think, because they seem to be less inclined to let us handle them like that than a dog is. It wouldn’t hurt to start paying attention to your cats’ teeth and gums. Thank you for visiting my blog today, and for leaving a comment too. All the best. 🙂

  9. Thanks for writing back, Jeanne Melanson

    I wanted to reply directly to our postings, but it will not allow.
    Chippy was my first cat family member in our place. He was an angel. Sadly only lived until ~11 years old. It was several years ago, but I think of him so often.

    Our two kitty girls are now 18 years old and 12 years old.
    Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

  10. Thank you. I am overdue on getting cat food dental treats.
    One of my beloved cats (rest in peace, Chippy) did for a period of time have dental problems and had to have teeth extracted. Miss him every day. Thanks.

    • Thank you, Rachel. I appreciate your comments, and I’m glad you check out my post. I will be checking out yours as well, “Why Shouldn’t My Pet Have a Gentle Dental?” Looks like we’re on the same track. Take care! Come back soon.

  11. I had no idea there were so many options for feline dental health now. I will have to check some of them out. Thank you!


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