Cat Dental Care

Cat Dental Care: Everything You Need to Know

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
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Do Cats Need Dental Cleaning?

Do Cats Need Dental Cleaning

Yes, cat dental care is necessary.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), cats should have their first dental cleaning by the time they are one year old. Dentists believe that dental diseases are fairly common in cats, with more than 50% of those above age four having some dental problems.

What Are the Benefits of Dental Care for Cats?

Dental care in cats has a lot of benefits, and it helps prevent diseases from getting worse.

  • Reduce Tartar and Plaque. Having your cat’s teeth professionally cleaned will eliminate plaque and tartar, smoothen the surface of the teeth and make it harder for the plaque to adhere. The vet will make a thorough oral assessment of your cat’s mouth and provide treatment recommendations while performing the cleaning.
  • Fewer Bacterial Infections. Brushing your cat’s teeth and having a periodic dental check-up reduces the likelihood of an infection. If bacteria from a mouth infection gets into your cat’s circulation, dental illness can reduce its life expectancy and result in soreness, tooth decay, and even pain.
  • Prevention of Bad Breath. Regular tooth brushing and dental check-ups can help lessen unpleasant cat breath and lower plaque and tartar buildup. Plaque and tartar that may have built up on your cat’s teeth can be removed by periodically requesting a complete cleaning from your veterinarian. Doing this can also help a cat with bad breath smell less offensively and offer the vet an opportunity to remove any painful or badly decayed teeth.
  • Preventing Other Diseases. Pets with dental disease have high concentrations of many germs in their mouths and oral tissues. These microorganisms can get into the bloodstream and spread to many body parts, having systemic or remote impacts. The kidneys, liver, and heart are the three most vulnerable organs to oral bacterial infection.
Greenies Feline Adult Dental Cat Treats
  • This convenient tub contains 9.75 oz. of FELINE GREENIES Crunchy Dental Treats in Oven Roasted Chicken Flavor
  • Crunchy texture helps clean teeth, reduce tartar buildup, and freshen breath
  • Made with natural ingredients plus added vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients; nutritionally complete and balanced for adult cats

How do I Take Care of My Cat’s Teeth?

Here are some cat dental care tips:

  • Be Aware of Bad Breath. If your cat has bad breath, it clearly indicates they have dental problems. To pet parents, that mild fishy scent known as “kitty breath” may seem normal. Your cat will continue to have bad breath if you don’t treat it. In animals, gum disease and/or tooth decay are frequently the root causes of foul breath and drooling.
  • Regular Vet Exams. Cats can experience dental problems that, if left untreated, might harm their overall health. Therefore, don’t cut corners on your cat’s annual exams. The annual check-up for your cat should include a discussion of dental health. Your veterinarian will also use this opportunity to assess your cat’s general health.
  • Daily Dental Care Routine. The most effective way to prevent dental disease is to brush your teeth twice daily. Try not to use “people” toothpaste on your cat’s teeth because fluoride toothpaste can seriously harm your cat if swallowed. Cat toothpaste is easily accessible and comes in a variety of tastes.
  • Consider Dental Diets. Cat food is yet another crucial element in keeping your cat’s teeth healthy. You can determine the ideal food for your cat’s overall and dental health by speaking with your veterinarian. There are prescription diets made especially to help enhance the dental health of cats with dental disease or other oral health issues. Usually they are crunchy kibble that promote dental hygiene.

How Can I Clean My Cat’s Teeth Naturally?

There are many over-the-counter cat dental care products. Let’s take a close look at them.

The Greenies Feline Adult Dental Cat Treats for Fresh Breath and Clean Teeth. Feline Greenies adult dental treats for cat’s oral health have a crispy feel that cleans teeth, reduces tartar buildup, and freshens kitty breath, allowing you to enjoy cuddling time even more.

These delectable cat dental treats are nutrient-complete and balanced for adult cats. Additionally, they do not contain more than two calories per goodie and are excellent for cat dental care.

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 “Vet’s Best Dental Care” Plaque Removal with Finger Wipes. These finger wipes from the Vet’s Best Store will help you clean your cat’s teeth and gums. The wipes contain natural ingredients like green tea extract and thyme oil. Regular finger cleaning pads will help reduce plaque and tartar buildup and encourage fresh breath, making way for home cat dental care.

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Vetriscience Perio Support Cat Teeth Cleaning Powder. Perio Support is a dental cat care product that maintains healthy teeth and breath. Perio Support has been scientifically proven to reduce plaque and tartar development in just 28 days, thanks to its natural zeolites and distinctive minerals.

It replaces harmful bacteria that cause plaque in the mouth and aids in microbial restoration. An abundant source of antioxidants, cranberry powder, and taurine enhance the health of gum tissue. For healthy teeth and breath, simply sprinkle this mess-free dental powder over your pet’s food.

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Arm & Hammer for Pets Dental Kit for Cats. This cat dental care product removes tartar, whitens teeth, and freshens breath without the hassle of brushing cats’ teeth. For optimal cleansing and defense against tartar, plaque, and other difficulties with dental health, baking soda dissolves deeply into the tiny crevices on the tooth’s surface.

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Oxyfresh Premium Pet Dental Kit Solution for Fresh Breath, Clean Teeth, and Plaque and Tartar Control. Included in this cat dental care product is a 16 oz. bottle of a very potent water additive that supports gum and tooth health. Your beloved pet will have fresh breath for extended periods thanks to Oxygene, a formula that efficiently fights plaque and tartar formation and neutralizes bad pet breath. The cat dental care product contains oxygen, a compound that combats plaque, tartar, and bad breath to keep your cat’s breath fresher for longer.

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Plaque Off for Cats. PlaqueOff Cat is a cat dental care product that contains carefully chosen seaweed. It has been clinically shown to drastically reduce plaque, tartar, and foul breath when taken regularly. Depending on the size of your pet, this container has enough medication for six to twelve months.

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The daily dosage is determined by the animal’s weight, and it is given once daily. You can add this cat dental care product to dry or wet food. The carefully chosen seaweed is combined with brewer’s yeast, a cat-favorite ingredient. It greatly reduces plaque, tartar, and bad breath when used daily.

Home remedies. The best thing cat owners can do for their cat’s dental health and oral hygiene is to feed them a balanced, high-quality diet. This could include entire meats and foods free of empty carbohydrates, extra preservatives, and colorings.

Also, use baking soda-infused water or cat-specific toothpaste (ideally one that is approved by the VOHC – Veterinary Oral Health Council). Use only toothpaste made for humans to avoid hurting your cat. Brushing your cat’s teeth daily is excellent for cat dental care. 

How Often Should a Cat’s Teeth Be Cleaned?

How Often Should a Cat’s Teeth Be Cleaned

Cats must have their teeth frequently cleaned to prevent plaque formation. If the plaque on their teeth isn’t consistently removed, it can cause major tooth and gum problems and occasionally other health issues.

This can eventually result in dental disorders, including periodontal disease and gingivitis, which can cause discomfort, inflammation, infection, tooth decay, and tooth loss, or bone loss. Plaque and germs can infiltrate your pet’s bloodstream and harm other organs. Overall, poor cat dental care is detrimental to the cat’s health. 

What Happens if I Don’t Brush My Cat’s Teeth?

If you don’t brush your cat’s teeth, they develop plaque buildup, which may negatively impact their general health, particularly their kidneys. Breeds of cats, in particular, are more likely to develop diseases like severe gingivitis, a gum condition that develops over time.

Gingivitis can cause painful tooth resorption, which occurs when teeth sink back into unhealthy and receding gums until the body eventually reabsorbs the tooth if it is not addressed.

How do Vets Clean Cats’ Teeth?

Vets clean your cat’s teeth following a predefined procedure:

  • Anesthesia is administered to your cat.
  • By scaling the teeth, your veterinarian will remove plaque and tartar. Plaque and tartar above and below the gum line are removed using an ultrasonic cleaning device.
  • To keep your cat’s teeth smooth, have your veterinarian polish them. Cleaning teeth without polishing them afterward cause micro-abrasions, which hastens plaque accumulation on the teeth.
  • The teeth of your cat are examined for any cavities and other dental issues.
  • To determine if your cat has any issues below the gum line, your veterinarian takes radiographs or X-rays.
  • Your cat is observed by your veterinarian after the cleaning to ensure that it is doing well.

How Much Does it Cost to Get Your Cat’s Teeth Clean?

Professional cat teeth cleaning can differ depending on the cat’s age, size, location, whether or not extractions are required, and other factors. Here are a few elements that affect the price of cat dental care:

  • Extent: How bad your cat’s dental problem is, your cat’s overall age, weight, and condition will determine whether any teeth need to be extracted.
  • Anesthetic: What sort of anesthetic will be required to put your cat to sleep throughout the procedure?
  • Location: Where do you reside? The price range for a standard dental cleaning is between $50 and $300. It may be very expensive if your cat needs further care for a dental condition.
  • Age: Older cats are more likely to have extensive plaque and tartar buildup, making the surgery more time-consuming and expensive.
  • Size: Because anesthesia and pharmaceutical prices are weight-based, the cost of the treatment may vary depending on how big your cat is.
  • Clinic: Each veterinary facility or individual clinic has its own set of fees. Clinic costs may be higher in metropolitan locations than in rural ones.