Pets

Cat Toothpaste – Is it Really Necessary?

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As cat parents, we’re constantly being bombarded by the latest and greatest products from brands that claim their items will make our lives and our cats’ lives better than ever before. For starters, there’s the Litter-Robot, which is an automatic litter box, and it is awesome if you can afford to shell out $500 for a singular litter box. 

From there, you can also find multi-level cat condos and modular cat trees, either of which can set you back a good $400. While these are impressive, they aren’t terribly ideal if you live in a small apartment. But there’s one item – an important, inexpensive item – that you might not even realize your cat needs.

Cat toothpaste.

Not convinced that it’s necessary? Can’t imagine your kitty sitting still long enough to have their teeth brushed? We get it, and that’s what we’re going to address today! 

Here’s everything you need to know about cat toothpaste, including why you need to buy it and why your cat deserves it. 

Cat Dental Products:

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Name

Rating

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Sentry Petrodex Veterinary Strength

Sentry Petrodex Veterinary Strength 

Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Cat Toothpaste

Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Cat Toothpaste

Vet Solutions Enzodent Enzymatic Poultry-Flavored Cat Toothpaste

Vet Solutions Enzodent Enzymatic Cat Toothpaste

H&H Pets Finger Toothbrush

H&H Pets Finger Toothbrush

Petsmile Applicator Swabs

Petsmile Applicator Swabs

Oratene Brushless Dental Gel

Oratene Brushless Dental Gel

Greenies Feline Dental Treats

Greenies Feline Dental Treats

Oral Care for Cats: Yes, It’s Important

In the summer of 2020, I adopted a nine-year-old cat from a rescue shelter. I named him Jimmy Cat.

Jimmy Cat is cuddly and soft. His coat is a mix of gray and black, paired with tabby tiger stripes, white paws, and a raccoon-like striped tail. He curls up with me on the couch and warms my feet when I’m watching TV. He sits on the bath mat when I’m in the shower. He nuzzles my laptop with his cheek when I’m working. In fact, he’s doing it right now! 

I don’t know who his former owners were or why they gave him up, but there’s one thing I do know about them:

They did not take care of his teeth.

How do I know this?

His breath is terrible.  

I asked the vet what to do to make his breath smell better, and he responded with something I never expected to hear. He said, “He needs a scaling.”

A scaling is when a dentist uses an ultrasonic water pick to blast off plaque buildup that forms on the teeth and below the gum line of cats. This is a common periodontal treatment for people like you and me, but I never knew that this was a thing for cats!

If Jimmy Cat’s mouth had been properly cared for in the first eight years before he joined my family, he wouldn’t have bad breath and he wouldn’t need a scaling. If only his previous owners had invested in some cat toothpaste! 

Related: The 14 Best Chew Toys For Cats [With Razor Sharp Teeth] 

Cats Can Get Dental Diseases, Too

Cat happily chewing on a cat toothbrush

Without proper dental care, cats are susceptible to two different types of periodontal disease, including gingivitis and periodontitis. With gingivitis, the gums become inflamed by bacterial plaque. It causes the gums to swell and bleed. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. 

Periodontitis is a more severe type of gum disease. Excessive tartar buildup, large amounts of plaque at the gum line, and untreated gingivitis can cause periodontitis. If it is not treated, these issues can result in tissue damage surrounding the teeth and the gums. All of these factors can affect bone density as well, which can ultimately lead to tooth loss.

A daily teeth cleaning routine can remove plaque, prevent tartar buildup, and keep your cat’s breath smelling as fresh as possible. And a proper oral hygiene routine starts with the right toothpaste! 

What Type of Toothpaste Should You Use?

You should never, under any circumstances, use human-grade toothpaste in a cat’s mouth. Toothpaste made for people often contains fluoride, which is toxic to cats. Additionally, human toothpaste may also contain baking soda. 

Since it’s high in alkaline, baking soda can disrupt your cat’s digestive tract and cause all sorts of stomach or intestinal issues. The only toothpaste that’s safe to use in your kitty’s mouth is cat toothpaste formulated specifically for felines. 

Take it from Anthony Duggan, founder of kittyinsight.com! He warns that “you should never use human toothpaste – the fluoride in human toothpaste can poison your cat!” Even if you run out of cat toothpaste and your cat has to go a day without having their teeth brushed, that’s far better than using human toothpaste.

How to Brush Your Cat’s Teeth

Don’t expect to just plop a dollop of kitty toothpaste on top of the bristles of a toothbrush and start scrubbing your cat’s teeth like you do your own. Cat teeth cleaning is a far more intense process

Eventually, you might be able to pair cat toothpaste with a soft bristle cat toothbrush or a finger brush and effectively clean your kitty’s mouth on a daily basis in a matter of minutes. However, getting to that point might take some work along with a lot of patience. 

The first step is to get your cat accustomed to the feeling. Start by putting your own finger in your cat’s mouth and gently rubbing their teeth and gums. If they take to your touch, reward kitty with a treat!

Once your cat is comfortable with your finger on their teeth and gums, swap your finger out for a soft cloth or small, soft sponge. It may take several tries to get them accustomed to the sponge, but once they do, you can start topping that sponge with pet toothpaste.

When your cat gets comfortable with the sponge and/or finger topped with toothpaste, it’s time to introduce the kitty toothbrush. Whether you use a finger toothbrush or a traditional toothbrush with a handle, be sure to give your kitty lots of tasty treats throughout the process.

Reward their good behavior and they’re more likely to sit still and calm for their next teeth brushing, knowing that another reward is coming their way!

Related: Cat Facts: 75 Of The Most Interesting Facts Surrounding Cats 

Alternatives to Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth

Proper cat dental care starts with feeding your cat the right type of food. Studies show that cats fed a healthy diet of dry food have better oral health than cats who regularly eat wet food. So if you want your cat to have better oral hygiene, you might want to cut back on those wet cans and feed kitty more healthy, grain-free cat food in dry form. 

Keep in mind that a healthy, dry food diet won’t take the place of a dental care routine. Daily toothbrushing is still the best way to protect your cat’s oral health. But if your kitty won’t stand for teeth brushing, there are a few other things you can do. 

Water Additives

Oral health water additives are a good option for finicky, fussy cats who won’t sit long enough for a daily teeth brushing.

Water additives promote better oral hygiene, similar to the way that humans use mouthwash to help reduce plaque, fight bad breath, and minimize tartar buildup. They also help to prevent bacterial growth in the mouth. 

Dental Treats

There are also certain types of cat treats, such as Greenies, that can promote better oral health in cats. Their crunchy texture helps to reduce tartar buildup, which is the first step in reducing stinky cat breath and keeping the gums healthy and clean.

Professional Cleanings

If your cat sits still for daily teeth brushing, consider yourself lucky! If your kitty resists brushing, won’t eat dental treats, and doesn’t enjoy water additives, there’s one other option, that being professional cleanings. 

Veterinarians can perform annual, routine dental cleanings for your cat, but to do so they have to put your cat under general anesthesia. This procedure requires a series of X-rays followed by teeth cleaning and tartar removal, just like the type of routine teeth cleanings we get on our human teeth.

Professional dental cleanings are an excellent way to maintain great oral hygiene for your cat. But since there are risks associated with anesthesia, it’s usually best to maintain a dental health routine for your cat on your own. 

When Should You Start Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth?

So, when exactly should you start brushing your cat’s teeth?

Right now! Well, unless you have a kitten…

Just like children, kittens have deciduous teeth, which is a fancy term for baby teeth. Experts recommend waiting until kittens reach six months of age before you start brushing their teeth. 

By the six-month mark most kittens will have lost their baby teeth and their adult teeth will have grown in place of the missing baby teeth. Once those adult teeth come in, you’ll need to protect them at all costs as those are the choppers they’ll live with for the rest of their life.

The 7 Best Oral Care Products for Cats

Ready to put together a dental care kit for your favorite feline? Here are the best cat toothpastes and other dental products to keep your kitty’s mouth feeling good, looking good, and smelling as fresh as can be. 

1. Sentry Petrodex Veterinary Strength Enzymatic Cat Toothpaste

Sentry Petrodex Veterinary Strength Enzymatic Cat Toothpaste

Sentry Petrodex Cat Toothpaste features a hydrogen-peroxide producing enzyme formulated to reduce tartar, reduce plaque buildup, and freshen your feline’s breath. It’s developed by vets and it doesn’t foam, so there’s no mouth rinsing required. 

2. Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Cat Toothpaste

Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Cat Toothpaste

Clean your kitty’s teeth and gums with the Virbac CET Enzymatic Toothpaste and you’ll never have to worry about stinky kitty breath, tooth loss, or gum disease. This enzymatic toothpaste is excellent at removing tartar and preventing plaque buildup.

3. Vet Solutions Enzodent Enzymatic Poultry-Flavored Cat Toothpaste

Vet Solutions Enzodent Enzymatic Poultry-Flavored Cat Toothpaste

It’s no secret that cats love chicken. If your cat is poultry flavor obsessed, this Vet Solutions Enzodent Enzymatic Cat Toothpaste can help your kitties take to daily teeth brushings a little bit easier.

This toothpaste has a triple enzyme system that removes plaque from the gum line and helps to polish your kitty’s teeth.

Related: What Is Catnip [Explained] + The Best Catnip Toys For Cats 

4. H&H Pets Finger Toothbrush

H&H Pets Finger Toothbrush

Soft bristle toothbrushes with handles are easy to use, but a finger toothbrush allows you to get better control over your cat’s mouth.

The H&H Pets Finger Toothbrush is a soft and effective teeth-brushing solution for your felines. These finger brushes are made from silicone so you can just slip one over your index finger and get to work brushing your kitty’s teeth in an easy, soft, safe, and healthy way. 

5. Petsmile Applicator Swabs

Petsmile Applicator Swabs

Brushing your cat’s front teeth isn’t enough. Just like your human mouth, you have to get way in there to get those back teeth crisp and clean.

The Petsmile Applicator Swabs make it easy to brush those hard-to-reach teeth and remove food remnants from teeth that are far back in the mouth.

These long swabs are made from BPA-free plastic and they’re reusable, so you can rinse them off and use them several times before disposing of them.

6. Oratene Brushless Dental Gel

Oratene Brushless Dental Gel

If your feline won’t sit still for a brush cleaning, a good alternative is a dental hygiene gel. Upon contact with your cat’s gums, the Oratene Brushless Dental Gel helps to dissolve plaque and reduce odor-causing bacteria. It also provides hydration for your cat’s mouth, making it perfect for dry mouth kitties that don’t drink enough water.

7. Greenies Feline Dental Treats

Greenies Feline Dental Treats

Cats love Greenies.

Why?

Because they’re crunchy and satisfying.

Plus, they taste like chicken.

Greenies feline dental treats are great for both dental hygiene purposes and behavioral training. Shake the pouch and your kitty will run right to you.

With or without a daily dental hygiene routine for your cat, having a pack of Greenies on hand can’t hurt. Give your cat a few Greenies and you can both reward good behavior and improve their dental hygiene at the same time.

Do I Need to Brush My Cat’s Teeth?

Similarly to humans, cats can come face-to-face with dental problems as the result of not having a proper dental health routine. And since your cat can’t grab a toothbrush, top it with toothpaste, rinse their mouth, and spit the toothpaste into the sink, it’s up to you as a cat parent to devise an oral hygiene plan that will benefit your cat.

Is brushing a cat’s teeth easy? Depending on your cat’s attitude, the answer might be no. But with the help of teeth cleaning dental treats, poultry-flavored toothpaste, and the right type of toothbrush, cleaning your cat’s teeth on a regular basis can easily become a part of your cat’s daily routine! 

You might also be interested in: The 10 Best Subscription Boxes For Your Pets [Dogs, Cats, Birds And Horses]

The 7 Best Oral Care Products for Cats:

  1. Sentry Petrodex Veterinary Strength Enzymatic Cat Toothpaste
  2. Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Cat Toothpaste
  3. Vet Solutions Enzodent Enzymatic Poultry-Flavored Cat Toothpaste
  4. H&H Pets Finger Toothbrush
  5. Petsmile Applicator Swabs
  6. Oratene Brushless Dental Gel
  7. Greenies Feline Dental Treats

Jessica Heston

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