How to Brush Your Cat’s Teeth for Optimal Dental Health

This publish first appeared on iCatCare on the 2nd of October 2019 right here.

Brushing a cat’s enamel is more likely to be the only handiest strategy to scale back dental plaque and preserve long-term oral well being. Like people, brushing won’t solely stop plaque and tartar formation; it’ll additionally promote wholesome gums and scale back halitosis (unhealthy breath). Each day and even twice every day brushing is beneficial wherever doable, and this may be launched to a cat at any age. Nevertheless, this should be executed step by step and with acceptable care.

Some cats appear predisposed to growing dental illness regardless of each effort made to forestall it. The chemical make-up of the saliva is one issue affecting dental and gum illness in these cats, in addition to immune responses, presence of micro organism, and an infection with different brokers. Rigorous dwelling care or, in extreme instances, a number of enamel extractions could also be wanted to assist these cats.

Dwelling care

Dental dwelling care might be began in a cat at any age, however typically, the youthful the cat is when the process is began, the better it’s for the cat to adapt to the routine. Kittens, specifically, often don’t take lengthy to grow to be accustomed to brushing, whereas older cats may have a slower and extra gradual method.

The considered brushing or cleansing your cat’s enamel could appear unusual and even fairly daunting. Whereas not all cats will tolerate it, many will and it is a superb strategy to preserve oral and dental well being.

Dwelling dental care is usually began after the cat has had its enamel cleaned and polished below an anaesthetic by your vet. In these instances, it’s often advisable to permit a number of days for the mouth to heal, and for irritation to calm down, earlier than beginning dwelling care. That is very true in case your cat has had any enamel eliminated. After this time, nevertheless, dwelling care needs to be began as quickly as doable.

Whether or not it’s a kitten or an aged cat, dental dwelling care needs to be carried out in the identical method. It’s useful to ascertain a every day routine, selecting a time that’s handy to verify brushing is completed day by day. Having this routine can be useful for the cat.

Though dental dwelling care may ideally be executed after the cat has eaten, many cats eat a number of small meals a day, and you might also favor to present the cat some meals as a reward after brushing the enamel, so timing just isn’t essential.

What to make use of to scrub your cat’s enamel

When planning to brush your cat’s enamel it is very important use the proper tools. By no means use human dental merchandise on a cat. Particular animal dental merchandise are available – ask your vet. You will have:

  • Toothbrush – an acceptable toothbrush for cats, and a separate toothbrush for every cat as saliva generally is a main route for cross-infection.
  • Veterinary/cat toothpaste – cat toothpaste could be very completely different from human toothpaste, and human toothpaste could be unpalatable for cats and will trigger gastric irritation. Cat toothpaste often is available in a number of flavours reminiscent of rooster, beef, fish or mint – you possibly can attempt completely different flavours to search out out which one your cat might like finest.

Cat dental dwelling care ‘starter kits’ are typically out there. A few of these comprise a ‘finger brush’ (a kind of brush that you just placed on the tip of a finger) quite than a daily toothbrush. These needs to be used with excessive warning although, and are in all probability finest averted typically to cut back the danger of being bitten!

Methods to brush your cat’s enamel

Performing dental dwelling care might be approached within the following method:

  • For the primary couple of days, construct up your cat’s belief by inserting a small quantity of toothpaste onto your finger and providing it to him/her. Some cats will immediately love the style whereas others could also be a bit reluctant. If reluctant, attempt inserting a tiny quantity onto your cat’s nostril. He/she is going to hopefully lick it off and often, as soon as they’ve had a style of it they are going to take it out of your hand.
  • It’s helpful to make use of the primary couple of days to familiarise your self with how you’ll maintain your cat’s head when brushing. To keep away from startling your cat, do this when your cat is sleepy and at a distinct time to when you’ll brush. If doable do this a number of instances a day, as you may be extra assured in terms of brushing the enamel.
    • It’s often higher to have your cat with its again in direction of you quite than approaching him/her from the entrance. Not solely is that this much less confrontational for the cat, but when your cat wriggles they are going to often transfer backwards, in direction of you, and you’ll have higher management.
    • Unfold your hand vast, as a agency however light grip is required, and place the palm of your hand on high of your cat’s head however in direction of the again, and use your thumb and second finger to grip across the cheekbone below the eyes. Your index finger needs to be lifted so to not cowl your cat’s eyes.
    • Gently tilt your cat’s head upwards a bit and use your thumb to softly elevate your cat’s higher lip
    • Use the thumb or finger in your different hand to softly pull down your cat’s decrease lip – this could offer you a great view of all of 1 facet of your cat’s enamel.
  • For the following 2-3 days, maintain your cat’s head in the identical method, however as a substitute of utilizing your second hand to carry the decrease lip down, apply some toothpaste to a cotton bud and gently rub the toothpaste onto the enamel in a round movement.
    • Begin on the again enamel as these are often those which can be probably the most troublesome to succeed in however crucial to brush. Regularly work your method forwards till reaching the lengthy canine enamel.
    • In case your cat tries to impede you with its toes, ask somebody to carry your cat’s entrance legs or, if you’re by your self, it might be simpler to wrap your cat in a towel or blanket.
    • It is much better to attempt to get your cat used to having its mouth touched by repeating these steps little and sometimes till you are feeling able to progress to the following stage.
  • Lastly, you can begin utilizing the toothbrush. The process is similar; transferring in small round motions and ranging from the again. Begin by brushing for roughly ten seconds all sides however step by step improve the time to 30-45 seconds all sides. If you first begin to brush the enamel there could also be a small quantity of gum bleeding. That is frequent and you will see that as you sweep extra repeatedly the bleeding will cease because the gums grow to be more healthy.
  • In the event you discover that a few days at every stage is simply too fast in your cat then take as many days as you want in your cat to adapt and really feel snug with the process. The principle factor is to see dwelling care as one thing nice and never a battle between you and your cat.
  • Generally it’s simpler to see any person show dental dwelling care in your cat. Most veterinary surgical procedures supply appointments with a veterinary nurse for this to be executed, so if you happen to’re having issues then contact your veterinary surgical procedure.

Various or supplementary dwelling care strategies

Some cats won’t tolerate brushing irrespective of how a lot you persist. In these instances, there are nonetheless methods in which you’ll be able to assist stop plaque and tartar formation:

  • In case your cat is on delicate meals then altering to or including dry meals to your cat’s food regimen might assist to cut back plaque and tartar accumulation. Nevertheless, ask your vet first to make sure a change of food regimen is appropriate in your cat.
  • Cat dental chews are often out there out of your vet and maybe additionally from a pet store. They arrive in several flavours and might be useful in decreasing (however not stopping) plaque and tartar formation – ask your vet what the simplest dental chews are.
  • In case your cat likes the toothpaste you possibly can attempt making use of some toothpaste to dry meals or dental chews to permit the toothpaste to rub towards the enamel
  • Chlorhexidine (an antiseptic that’s helpful in controlling micro organism within the mouth) mouthwashes or gels can be found. These assist scale back bacterial progress within the mouth, though extended use can discolour the tooth enamel.
  • Your vet might also recommend a particular ‘dental food regimen’ in your cat – some diets have been specifically formulated to assist management plaque and tartar, and these could also be notably useful in cats with dental illness the place dwelling brushing could be very troublesome.

Whereas it’s possible that your cat will want dental remedy at some stage of their life, common dental dwelling care can dramatically enhance oral well being and scale back the need for dental procedures, which might be of profit to you and your cat.

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