Cat dental care: Top tips for healthy teeth and gums
Know what you’re up against
Gingivitis—or gum inflammation—is a form of periodontal disease and is the most common dental issue for cats. It begins when plaque builds up on the teeth. It can then harden into tartar, which causes the gums to swell and the teeth to loosen. If left untreated, tooth loss can occur.
Conduct home cleanings
A daily—or at least twice-weekly—cleaning at home will help your cat avoid painful dental diseases. You'll need sterile gauze strips or a soft rubber cat toothbrush, as well as toothpaste created especially for cats.
Dip the toothbrush or a strip of gauze wrapped around your index finger into the cat’s toothpaste. Gently rub your finger or toothbrush in a circular motion on a tooth. Start with one or two teeth for the first session and increase the number of teeth cleaned per session as your cat gets used to the routine.
Check for changes
If you see changes in the condition of your cat's mouth, detect a foul odor or see your cat drooling excessively, consult with your veterinarian.
Explore your options
If your cat refuses to allow you to clean his teeth, it’s okay to leave it to the professionals. Talk over a specific cleaning schedule with your vet—and expect to at least take your cat in for an annual cleaning.