Tampa Animal and Bird Hospital

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Ask a Vet:
How do I brush my cat’s teeth?

Dental disease (especially periodontal disease) is the most common disease in our feline companions. It is also one of the most preventable and treatable disease. We can reduce or even prevent dental disease by feeding a crunchy diet and daily tooth brushing. The following are steps to guide you on how to brush your cat’s teeth:

  • If you’ve never brushed your cat’s teeth, make an appointment for a professional dental checkup and cleaning first.  Start with a fresh, clean mouth.
  • Use a soft-bristled tooth brush and veterinary toothpaste.  Don’t use human toothpaste.  Animal toothpaste is flavored specifically for your pet.  Anything other than a bristled tooth brush will not get below the gum line (the most important area to brush).
  • There are several important facts about our pets’ mouths that tell us when, where, and how to brush.  Periodontal disease usually affects the upper, back teeth first and worst. Plaque builds up on the tooth surface daily, especially just under the gum line. It takes less than 36 hours for this plaque to become mineralized and harden into “tartar” (calculus) that cannot be removed with a brush. Because of this progression, brushing should be done daily, with a brush to remove the plaque from under the gum line.
  • Pick a time of day that will become a convenient part of your pet’s and your daily routine. Brushing before a daily treat can help your pet actually look forward to brushing time.
  • Take a few days to let both of you get use to the process. Follow with praise and a treat each time.

Here’s a helpful video that shows how to brush your cat’s teeth.

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