CattyCorner: Brush your cat’s teeth

Greetings, paw-like human minions.

Forrest the cat here and come to you on a topic I really don’t care about, but it still needs to be discussed. You know how taking care of your health sometimes involves tasks that you would rather not rather than have to do? Well that’s one of those.

I don’t like a dental day, but I do take care of your kittens so here I am and show how mom makes me get my teeth brushed.

February is animal dental health month, so I thought it was a hot topic and I was just watching my mom take out my toothbrush. Forgive my anger This is really an important issue as cats need clean teeth, not only because they perfect our mustaches, but also because dental disease can lead to major health problems in cats.

@ yuki_snowbear / Instagram

After examining the cat’s teeth, Mom explained that the feline experts at the Cornell Feline Health Center state, “The three most common dental diseases in cats are gingivitis, periodontal disease and tooth resorption.”

And all three dental problems can cause a lot of pain and suffering in cats. Mom has emphasized this fact many times when I writhed while brushing. I am aware, but I don’t have to like it. I am a cat. Discomfort is our greatest enemy. Well, that and the vacuum.

Here are the chattering truths of the 3 biggest dental diseases in cats.

Inflammation of the gums

Simply put, gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. It usually occurs when bacteria in plaque invade the gums, but can typically be treated with professional teeth cleaning and antibiotics. To prevent gingivitis, cats should have regular toothbrushes two to three times a week.

@ mywashingtoncat / Instagram

Sometimes gingivitis can be a symptom of major health problems. So, if you notice plaque on your cat’s teeth, contact the veterinarian. It’s probably just a tartar, but it’s always better to play it safe.

Periodontal disease

As a result of untreated gingivitis, periodontal disease causes an infection of the gums that weakens the tissues responsible for maintaining teeth. Tooth loss can occur if left untreated, but like other dental diseases in cats, good oral hygiene is key to prevention.

Tooth resorption

Sounds like a nightmare scenario, doesn’t it? It doesn’t get any better if you realize what it is. Tooth resorption occurs when a cat’s tooth begins to erode the dentin or other structures of a tooth. The erosion of the tooth can potentially cause significant pain in a cat’s delicate mouth. Resorption can occur in one or all teeth. It could be mild or aggressive. Worse, the cause of this condition is unknown. So, keep an eye on Kitty’s teeth and reach for the toothbrush to keep a cat’s mouth sparkling clean.

@ chibiiandme / Instagram

Mouth infections due to dental problems can spread to vital organs, and mouth pain can prevent cats from eating. Both these and other dental diseases in cats can lead to extreme illness and even death. If you notice that your cat has stopped eating, drooling, or has redness, swelling, or bleeding gums, call the vet to make an appointment as these are all symptoms of dental disease in cats.

So if you read about such an oral horror, you have probably asked, “Forrest, how do I brush my cat’s teeth?”

This is how it works in my house …

@ charliethegreatcat / Instagram

Brush your cat’s teeth with toothpaste and toothbrushes for cats

To begin dental hygiene for your cat, you will need a toothpaste and toothbrush made for cats. However, don’t bring your mint tube to a cat’s tooth day. Human toothpaste contains ingredients that are harmful to cats. You can choose a cat toothpaste from a variety of cat-friendly flavors. I prefer beef in case you are wondering.

Again, save the human toothbrush to clean a cat’s head. Your mouth is bigger than ours, so a human toothbrush won’t fit in a cat’s mouth. When it comes to cat toothbrushes, you can choose from bristle or knobbly styles with a handle or a nubby finger cover style. It really comes down to what is easiest for you and your cat during this time torture, excuse me, oral care.

@ bennylu_ragdoll / Instagram

When mom brushes my teeth, she lures me in with treats and shovels me onto the dreaded counter. Every time I’m put there by human hands, something bad happens and brushing my teeth is no exception. Then she starts cooing as she touches me with her arms and next thing she knows she is holding my chin with one hand and using the toothbrush to enter my mouth.

As I grind the brush, it gently scrubs all of my teeth, both inside and out. She spends a lot of time with my molars and I generally make choking noises. Sure, it’s dramatic, but it expresses my anger.

And while the taste of beef is good on my tongue, it isn’t great when mom brushes my tongue. It’s about this point where I start looking for her hands with my front paws and maybe I’ve got my claws out a bit, but points need to be made here too.

She gets into her last brushes, lets go of me and shoots away from my whip tail. But she’s good at giving me a fresh drink of water right away and dealing with a pile of goodies. Mama is then smart to let me pout with my fresh breath for a while before she annoys me again.

After a nap, I usually forgave her. So everything is fine and my mouth is clean.

@ celiakitty518 / Instagram

Before you and your cat can brush their teeth that well, you need practice and patience. This will feel unnatural to your cat. So go slow and start with a simple toothbrush and toothpaste introduction. Soon your cat will allow you to brush the nibbles off its teeth.

But in order to get nibbles in its teeth a cat has to be fed, so …

Don’t forget to feed the cat.

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VeritasDVM / YouTube

Feature Image: @ bennylu_ragdoll / Instagram & @ yuki_snowbear / Instagram


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