Let’s get to it! Here are the whys and hows to keeping cat mouths happy and healthy.
Dental check ups are a must! The vet is never a fun person to visit for our cat friends, but to keep on track with all aspects of their health, especially dental health make sure to go annually for check ups. The vet will be able to get a much better look into their mouths than we can, and they will be able to spot any troubling signs.
Use a good toothpaste! Dentisept is the toothpaste recommend by our vet. Not only does it have very few ingredients, unlike a lot of commercial cat toothpaste it actually works to reverse the early signs of gum disease. It’s incredibly sticky and only needs to be used once a week for healthy gums and once daily for red gums. It does not need to be brushed on, rather just apply a thin layer over the cats teeth.
Brush their teeth daily for at least 2-3 minutes. Just like humans cats need proper tooth brushing. This can be difficult because as we all know cats aren’t always the best patients! Everyday regular brushing will help to remove food that can cause plaque and bacteria build up, which can result in gum disease and other oral issues. Below I’ll set out a guide to getting started brushing teeth, what to use and how to do it!
Cats love coconut oil, and oil is brilliant to protect the teeth from plaque developing. Alongside brushing daily, before meals apply with your little finger or a cotton bud a small layer of coconut oil over your cats teeth and gums. Not only will this stop food from sticking to the teeth, but coconut oil is anti bacterial and will help to sooth their gums.
Always wipe down your cats face after applying the oil to prevent cat acne developing around their mouth and chin!! Witch hazel and/or hydrogen peroxide are good natural products to use against cat acne.
Anti plaque additives are good, but they don’t replace toothpaste completely. If your cat has any signs of gingivitis or other dental issues ask your vet about using an antibacterial tooth paste daily to help, and reduce to once weekly when the redness subsides. We add anti plaque seaweed powder to food and treats and use this alongside the coconut oil to brush teeth in the evening. For some cats this is a treat in and of itself, for others you might need to hide it in food or apply straight into their mouth!
Have something for them to chew on like Silvervine sticks! Most cats love Silvervine and chewing the stick will help to keep hard to get to back teeth clean. See our post about Catnip to find out more about Silvervine and where to get it.
How to Brush Cat Teeth
Get the cat used to being handled around their mouth. Some cats will need to be wrapped up like a little kitty burrito no matter how hard you try to get them on your side, but for many people, your cats can be convinced to let you handle them and perform tasks such as tooth brushing or nail clipping.
Introduce gentle touching around the mouth area when the cat is calm, lift the lip and gently touch and massage the gums.
Use your finger as a toothbrush at first. Try this with coconut oil to begin with, apply a small amount to your finger and gently rub against your cat’s teeth and gums for as long as they let you .
Even if your cat isn’t a fan, you can’t give up. Brushing daily is vital to oral health, regardless of diet or lifestyle of the cat. Once the cat is used to your finger, try moving onto a soft toothbrush, we use baby silicone finger toothbrushes, such as these.
We apply a little coconut oil to the toothbrush and sprinkle on some of our anti plaque seaweed. We do this at least an hour after their evening meal before bedtime.
We use the Dentisept once daily for Kiki and Lolly after their breakfast as per instructions, we apply this using a cotton bud and aim to apply it to their back gums as this is the hardest area to get to to brush teeth. As Remi has very healthy gums and is still very young we only apply a very small amount of the Dentisept once a week.
It can take some time before cats become accepting of toothbrushing, and some never will. But we can’t give up on them, and the importance of brushing should be shouted from the rooftops for all cat owners to hear!
Do you have any oral healthcare tips? Share them below and let’s start a cat oral care revolution!!
Thanks for reading, see you in the next one.
Kiki, Lolly, & Remi