People think that dental health is important for human beings only. They often forget that cats eat everything they get their hands on. Outdoor cats even eat grass, rocks, lizards, and sticks. Therefore, they are prone to getting dental problems. According to a survey, 8 out of 10 cats develop gum and tooth issues when they reach the age of three. It is because of accumulated plaque, which often leads to periodontal diseases. Hence, you should focus on cleaning the teeth of your cat regularly.
Dental disease in cats
Warning signs of dental problems
Cat teeth also form plaque. The plaque piles up and results in tartar. This happens when the plaque is left on the teeth for a long time. Tarter can cause severe irritation. It usually leads to gingivitis and teeth loss. People often forget that dental issues indicate, and sometimes lead to, kidney issues and heart diseases. Therefore, educate yourself on dental health issues and how to identify such issues.
Following are some of the major warning signs of dental issues:
- The breath of your cat can indicate a lot. Your cat’s breath should never be smelly. Therefore, if your cat has bad breath, it indicates something severe. It shows an advanced level of dental threat.
- Reddened gums.
- Yellow or brown tartar on teeth.
- Chewing on one side of their mouth.
- Dropping food from their mouth.
- Loss of appetite.
All of this usually indicates a bad case of gingivitis. Most cats do not show their pain or express that they are feeling bad. Therefore, your cat might not loudly exhibit these signs. This is why vets suggest keeping a check on your cat’s dental health and taking her to the vet regularly. Be extra careful when it comes to senior cats.
Take your cat to the vet if you are unable to soothe her yourself. Your cat might need to get a damaged or loose tooth removed. Some vets also use ultrasonic vibration to get rid of plaque or frozen tartar.
Brushing your cat’s teeth
All cats need regular brushing of their teeth. Your cat will take a lot of time to get used to you brushing her teeth. You might not be able to brush her teeth properly in the beginning. Your vet might suggest you wait before trying anything new. You might need your vet’s help for a long time.
Ideally, introduce your cat to dental health during her kitten socialization stage. Kittens have milk teeth that fall out as they grow up. Therefore, they do not need brushing. But it is still better to introduce her to tooth brushing at a young age. She will not resist it later in her life. Adult cats need it as they can get dental health diseases.
Here are some tips to get your cat used to brushing:
- Get a demo from your vet to understand how to brush cat teeth.
- Never use human toothpaste for your cat. Buy cat toothpaste as your cat will use it easily. Cat toothpaste comes in cat flavors such as salmon and chicken.
- Put a little toothpaste on your finger and allow your cat to lick it. Repeat this for a few days. It will help your cat in getting used to the flavor and taste of toothpaste.
- Buy a cat toothbrush for your cat. Buy dedicated toothbrushes for each of your cats to prevent transferring bacteria.
- You can use a baby toothbrush but buy the one that does not let your finger get inside your cat’s mouth.
- Select a dedicated time for brushing your cat’s teeth. You have to be very consistent. Hence, decide a time when you are ordinarily free and relaxed. You cannot rush this process.
- Keep your cat facing away from you. Put her in a position so that her back is in front of you.
- Get your cat used to all of this by touching her teeth, face and other facial areas before actually brushing her teeth. You can give her treats if she lets you touch her face calmly.
- If your cat makes a fuss or acts nervously, ask someone to help you with this.
- Pull back your cat’s mouth and touch her teeth with the toothbrush. Once she stops reacting to this, give her a treat. Keep doing this for a few days. Stop giving her treats when she stops showing discomfort. It is a sign that you can brush her teeth.
- Now start brushing her teeth at a 45-degree angle. Try not to touch her gums directly, but make sure that the teeth are brushed until the gums start.
- Initially, brush her teeth for a few seconds only and treat her.
- Slowly increase the time and keep rewarding her.
- Introduce her to hygiene gels at a very young age as well.
You will need to be extra persistence to get her used to all of this. Your cat will start tolerating this after a while.
Cat dental care products
The truth is that cats find it hard to get their teeth brushed. Some cats never get used to brushing. Therefore, it will be a challenge if your cat needs it. Talk to your vet about alternatives. Your vet might suggest a suitable oral gel. Oral gels can be great as they have enzymes in them. These enzymes kill the bacteria in the mouth. You can even mix these gels with their food to help them eat it.
Dental cat treats
Dental cat treats can be a great way to practice good dental health. These treats come in tasty flavors such as salmon and chicken. These treats are made in such a way that they can clean the teeth of your cat due to their texture. Some of the treats are made in such a way that they prevent plaque and tartar from accumulating.
The above points show the importance of dental care for cats. Therefore, do not ignore it, no matter what. Try your best to provide dental health to your cat while accommodating her. You can use several techniques to soothe her. Hence, talk to your vet about it and find a suitable solution for your kitty.
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