Oral health isn’t something that should be neglected in either humans or pets. Our animals are just as reliant on their teeth as we are, and your cat’s dental health can have a profound effect on its overall well-being.
Dental disease is by far the most common dental problem facing cats today, and as many as 70% of felines will experience some degree of the condition by the time they reach their third birthday. Essentially, the equivalent of human periodontal disease, it occurs when the bacteria that accumulate on your pet’s teeth spread below the gum line, irritating and inflaming the soft tissue and causing infection develop. When this happens, the infection can erode the gum and bone, causing tooth loss. The bacteria can also enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of your cat’s body, including major organs. It is at this stage that dental disease can do irreversible damage to your cat’s health.
Fortunately, your cat doesn’t have to suffer from dental disease, nor any other type of dental problem. As the owner, you are entirely responsible for your pet’s health and wellbeing, and this means that it is up to you to help her keep their teeth clean and oral problems at bay.
Here are our top dental tips for cats and their owners.
Brush teeth as often as you can
Nothing is as beneficial for your pet’s oral health as brushing their teeth as often as you can. Daily brushing is optimal, but even cleaning them once a week is better than not at all. You can purchase veterinary toothbrushes, or use a small, round-headed human toothbrush. Then, using veterinary toothpaste (human toothpaste is highly toxic to cats), brush the outer faces of the teeth gently in a circular motion. It may take some practice, but most owners and their cats get used to it very quickly.
Book annual professional cleanings for your cat
Although you undoubtedly do your best when cleaning your cat’s teeth, a professional grade cleaning is recommended at least once per year. This is performed under general anesthetic, meaning that your kitty is unconscious and completely still for the duration of the cleaning. In this state, your vet has unencumbered access to the teeth and mouth, and the veterinary instruments needed to perform a truly thorough clean will not cause damage due to patient movement. It also provides your vet with an opportunity to perform a truly thorough assessment of your cat’s dental health and make any necessary treatment recommendations.
Provide dental treats
Some popular kitty treats are designed specifically to help clean her teeth. Typically, they have abrasive surfaces and bacteria-fighting ingredients, and even just one dental treat each day has the potential to make a difference to your cat’s dental health.
Water is essential for any cat’s health, but by encouraging your feline to drink plenty of fluids each day, you are supporting her dental health. This is because drinking water helps to wash away plaque acids before they have the opportunity to do damage to her teeth and gums.
Keeping your cat’s teeth clean may not have been something that you previously considered, but studies show that felines who have great dental hygiene are more likely to live longer, healthier lives. For more advice on dental tips for cats, call our office today.