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How to brush your cat's teeth

Many dental diseases can be prevented by regular tooth brushing. Even so, too many people neglect to brush their cat's teeth. Here are some tips for those who want to start.
Cat being examined by a vet with gloves on

How to brush your teeth step by step

  1. Start carefully and choose a time when your cat is calm and safe
  2. First get your cat used to you touching their mouth
  3. Use an extra soft children's toothbrush, a finger pacifier or a microfiber cloth wrapped around your finger
  4. If you use toothpaste (which is rarely necessary), choose a toothpaste designed for cats
  5. Start brushing/rubbing on the cheek teeth and continue on the rest of the teeth. Put your finger under the lip and let the cat close its mouth if it wants to
  6. It's good if you can access the teeth at the back of the mouth - but not all cats agree
  7. Brush your teeth regularly. Preferably every day
  8. Don't forget to praise your cat so it learns to like brushing its teeth.

How often should you brush your cat's teeth?

Brush your cat's teeth regularly, preferably daily. Plaque, which consists of bacteria and food debris, is constantly forming in your cat's mouth. The only way to get rid of plaque is by brushing your cat's teeth.

Top tip: brush your cat's teeth when you do your own to make it into a habit and part of your daily routine.

When should I start brushing my cat's teeth?

Get your cat used to tooth brushing early, preferably already as a kitten. It takes time to get a cat used to brushing its teeth. You can start by inserting your finger under the cat's lip and gently rubbing the outside of the upper jaw teeth with the tip of your finger or alternatively with a microfiber cloth wrapped around the finger. Do this daily until your cat accepts it. Only then do you introduce the toothbrush.

Get your cat used to the toothbrush gradually

To get your cat used to the toothbrush, you can start by dabbing the teeth with the brush. Then move on to brushing for a few seconds and gradually increase the time you brush the teeth. Remember to praise your cat to make it into a positive and rewarding experience. Never hold your cat by force.

Need some support?

It is usually easiest to brush your cat's teeth if you let them sit on your lap with their back to your stomach. If you have someone to help you, one can act as "support" behind the cat while the other stands in front of the cat and brushes.

Brushing your cats teeth from the front without support behind can cause you cat to back away further and further. Eventually, you won't be able to reach them.

Brush with small movements

The outsides of the teeth are brushed with small rubbing movements. Try to be especially careful with the gum line where tartar formation starts. The large teeth in the upper jaw are particularly exposed, so it's good if you can brush those too, although it can be difficult.

Important! Never brush your cat's teeth with toothpaste intended for humans. Fluoride is not needed.

Use toothpaste for cats

If you want toothpaste, you should use a toothpaste intended for cats. It often tastes good to them, and can be a good way to make the whole thing more pleasurable. There is, among other things, toothpaste with a liver flavour that many cats like. But toothpaste is not necessary as it is the rubbing that removes the plaque. DO NOT use toothpaste with fluoride.

Why is dental care important for the cat?

Plaque is a coating made up of bacteria and food residues in the mouth and is produced daily. If plaque is not removed regularly, problems can arise. Plaque can form tartar, but above all, plaque formation can lead to gingivitis and tooth loss by spreading below the gum line.

Brushing your cats teeth also gives you the chance to check your cats mouth for any abnormalities.

Find out more about dental treatment covered by Agria Pet Insurance

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