How to Care for Your Cat’s Teeth

How to Care for Your Cat’s Teeth

Clean, strong teeth is essential for your cat’s overall health and wellbeing. Establishing a good dental maintenance routine early on in your cat’s life is critical to their ongoing health, and can help prevent severe dental illnesses such as periodontal disease. Cats can also develop gum disease, a build-up of tartar and plaque, bad breath, and abscesses, all of which can progress into a painful infection or tooth loss. With a good feline dental care routine and a healthy diet with the correct type of food, it’s possible to help prevent serious issues from developing.

In this blog, I will explain the importance of good dental care, what signs to look out for when checking for any dental concerns and how to brush your kitty’s teeth,

Dr Carol Doyle Veterinarian

Carol Doyle, BSc VN DVM

Carol DoyIe is a small pet veterinarian in a practice in Ashbourne, Co. Meath and is the human companion to her cats, Nala and Donal, two horses - Indie and Bella, and her dog Phoebe.

As a guest blogger and advisor, Carol shares her professional advice with pet owners, answering many of the questions that she gets asked regularly in-clinic.

Why is Cat Dental Care Important?

Cats explore the world through the use of their mouth-they play, eat, as well as lift and move objects. Therefore, it’s essential that their teeth and gums are looked after properly and given the correct dental care. They are also obligate carnivores, meaning meat is an essential part of their diet. Their digestive system processes high quantities of protein, with very little carbohydrates. With this comes a unique set of teeth that makes use for ripping and tearing, unlike flatter human teeth which is designed for grinding. Cats also lack the enzymes in their mouths to fight off bacteria like humans do. Therefore, looking after your cat’s teeth and establishing a proper dental care routine is critical to their health.

It’s not just keeping the bad breath and yellow teeth at bay-cleaning your cat’s teeth is essential to prevent issues like gingivitis (an inflammation of the gums) and periodontal disease which can lead to heart, liver and kidney issues, as well as tooth loss.

If your cat is experiencing a problem with their tooth, there’s a chance they may be hiding it due to instinctively hiding their pain as to not appear vulnerable to predators. If you find your cat hiding more than usual, refusing to sleep, or acting out and becoming more aggressive, this could imply that they’re experiencing tooth pain.

cat opening his mouth wide to show his teeth

Signs of Dental Disease

The following signs could be indicators of a dental problem with your cat; if you do notice any of the below, it is essential you contact your local vet for advice.

  • Bad breath
  • Swollen/bleeding gums
  • Inflammation of gums
  • Excessive drooling
  • Difficulty eating or chewing
  • Pawing at their teeth or mouth
  • Ulcers on gums

If your vet confirms a dental-related issue, they may recommend a professional dental cleaning, which involves your cat undergoing anaesthesia.

Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth

The best and most effective way to keep your kitty’s gums and teeth healthy is with daily tooth brushing. With daily elimination of plaque, no tartar will form, preventing it from progressing into periodontal disease. If you cannot brush your cat’s teeth every day, then a minimum of three times a week is sufficient.

I recommend getting your cat accustomed to daily brushing while they are still a kitten; if your cat is a bit older, it may take a bit longer to get them used to the process, but, in my opinion, it is still worth the effort.

What You’ll Need:


  1. Make sure your cat is comfortable and in a relaxed environment.
  2. Gently stroke your finger along their jawline, and then into their mouth along their teeth and gums. This may take a few days for them to get comfortable, so don’t rush into anything. You want your cat used to you touching inside their mouth before introducing the toothbrush and toothpaste.
  3. Once your cat is comfortable with you rubbing their mouth, squeeze a small amount of toothpaste onto your finger and allow them to sniff it and lick it. This will help them become adjusted to the taste and smell of the toothpaste.
  4. Once they’re ready, gently apply the toothpaste across their teeth and gums using your finger. This may take a few days of practice, especially if your cat is older.

Introducing the Toothbrush

  1. Once you and your cat feel ready, take your toothbrush and gently begin brushing their teeth.
  2. Focus on his front teeth and gently make your way to the back of their mouth. Their inside teeth may take some time to get to as they become more comfortable with the toothbrush.
  3. Apply a gentle circular motion, taking it slow and stopping regularly so they can give a lick of the toothbrush.
  4. Cleaning your cat’s teeth daily, or at a minimum of three times a week will help remove plaque and avoid any tartar accumulation.

If you find your cat is very uncomfortable, there are alternatives you can try to tooth-brushing. It may be necessary to get veterinary assistance if you feel your cat has a lot of plaque and tartar built up on their teeth.

Alternatives to Brushing

While brushing your cat’s teeth regularly is preferable, there are many other ways to help with  their dental care routine.

  • VetIQ 2in1 Denti-Care Gum Shield Spray helps manage plaque and oral bacteria through the use of a spray rather than brushing. Containing a unique blend of Pomegranate extract, Peppermint and Parsley seed oil, it freshens your pet’s breath whilst promoting a clean healthy mouth. Ease of use is ensured with a 360 degree spray nozzle for total coverage of the internal oral cavity.
  • VetIQ 2in1 Denti-Care Chewable Toothpaste are delicious, highly digestible tablets, which should be fed to your cat between meals. They contain a blend of pomegranate extract, peppermint and parsley seed oils to freshen your cat’s breath, whilst also helping to reduce dental plaque.
  • Chew toys can be really beneficial and many are formulated to help reduce plaque and fortify your pet’s teeth and gums. Unlike their canine friends, however, not every cat will enjoy a chew toy, but for the felines that like the act of chewing, these toys can promote healthy teeth and gums. Always ensure they are the correct size (small toys can be choking hazards) and that they are not too hard, as this can cause broken teeth.
  • Special treats are available to help prevent dental issues in cats, such as DENTALIFE Cat Treats. This delicious daily dental treat helps clean your cat’s teeth easily and effectively with its scientifically designed crunchy and porous texture.

Prevention is better than cure, so make sure your cat is getting their teeth cleaned regularly. There is a range of dental care options available and our team in-store are available to help you to find the one that is most suitable to your pet’s needs.

Share this post

You've just added this product to the cart: