Did you know that roughly 70 percent of cats develop gum disease by the age of three? Dental diseases are some of the most common health conditions affecting house cats, which is why it’s important for their human companions to take good care of their pets’ teeth. Untreated dental disease can not only make cats uncomfortable, but also contribute to the development of dangerous bacterial infections.
So what can you do to care for your cat’s dental hygiene? You can start by making sure they’re eating right.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
There’s a common misconception that crunch dry food can help to clean cats’ teeth by scraping plaque off their teeth. In reality, cats don’t chew their food enough to get these supposed benefits from eating dry food. Instead, it’s best to keep your cat on a grain-free canned or raw diet. Wet canned food will help your cat stay properly hydrated, and wash away loose plaque before it’s able to stick to their teeth.
Perform Regular At-Home Cleanings
Cleaning your cat’s teeth at home can be challenging, so it’s a good idea to get them used to the idea when they’re still young. If your cat doesn’t like having a toothbrush in their mouth, you can also massage their teeth and gums with a piece of sterile gauze wrapped around your finger. Just be sure to use toothpaste made specifically for cats, as human toothpaste can be harmful if swallowed. Toothpaste for cats is also flavored to make it more appealing to felines.
Visit Your Vet for Professional Cleanings
Every now and then, your cat should also receive a professional cleaning from your veterinarian. During this procedure, your cat will be put under anesthesia so that the vet can perform a thorough cleaning of their teeth and gums. Cats with dental disease should typically undergo a professional cleaning once every six months to a year.