top of page

Cat Dental Care

How do I take care of my cat’s teeth?

In this Vet Minute, Dr. Amy Hanson, contributing veterinarian at, explains why cat dental health is so often overlooked and discusses options for keeping cat teeth healthy. She covers professional dental cleanings by your veterinarian as well as cat tooth brushing and non-tooth brushing alternatives for healthy cat teeth.

Do Cats Need Dental Care?

Cats like to hide that they have anything going on. It’s in their nature not to show any weakness, so sometimes people don’t realize that anything is wrong with their cat. They’ll see the cat eating normally, behaving the same, but the cat can have a lot of issues in their mouth that you might not be aware of. Cats have unique dental conditions that can cause significant pain and potentially systemic issues, as bacteria from their mouth can enter the bloodstream and affect other organs.

Dental Disease in Cats Symptoms

Signs of cat dental problems can be subtle. Changes in eating patterns, such as reluctance to eat, dropping food, eating from one side of the mouth, or grinding teeth, can indicate dental issues. Other signs include vocalizing during eating, pawing at the mouth, and drooling, which suggest problems in the mouth or with the teeth.

How to Prevent Dental Disease in Cats

Preventing feline dental issues is possible, and brushing your cat’s teeth is one effective method. Consistency and a slow approach are key when starting to brush your cat’s teeth. Focus on the surface near the cheek, as cats often swallow their food whole and don’t get the benefit of chewing to scrape off tartar. Use a pet-safe toothpaste, as human toothpaste can be toxic to pets. Finger toothbrushes, pet-friendly toothbrushes, or even a wet cotton square can be used to get your cat accustomed to having their mouth handled. Daily tooth brushing is ideal, but even brushing once a week is beneficial. Make it a positive experience by giving treats afterward.

What if I Can’t Brush My Cat’s Teeth?

If your cat does not allow you to brush their teeth, there are alternatives. Dental diets with larger kibble can help scrape tartar off the teeth. Additionally, cat dental treats, oral water additives, and oral gels and sprays can be used. While brushing is the best home care, these alternatives can also contribute to your cat’s dental health.

Cat Dental Care Tips

Starting dental care when your cat is young is ideal. Begin by getting them used to having their mouth handled, making it a positive experience by massaging their face. For older cats, go slowly and start with just touching around the outside of the mouth. Reward them with treats or play sessions to make it a positive experience.

How Often Should a Cat’s Teeth Be Cleaned By a Vet?

Professional dental cleanings by a veterinarian should be done at least once a year, though some cats may need cleanings every six months depending on their dental health. These cleanings allow for sedation, thorough examination, and X-rays to detect issues under the gum line that aren’t visible externally. Early detection of oral cancer and removal of foreign objects, such as strings or sewing needles, can also be addressed during these cleanings.

For more information and resources, visit

Cat Dental Care
Cat Dental Care


Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page