How to prevent dental disease in your cat

Brushing is best!

For those of you who can… You should! There really is no substitute for brushing teeth, in order to remove plaque and therefore prevent the build-up of tartar and the development of periodontal disease. Here is a quick reminder of how to do it. There are many good videos online showing you how:

  • Never use human products on your cat. Ask your vet for nice tasty toothpaste or gel, and the appropriate finger glove (soft microfibre type) or soft brush.
  • Get someone else to gently hold your cat or kitten. Start as young as you can and take things slowly.
  • Gently rub your finger along your cats face and lips. Do just this for a few days and put a little toothpaste on your finger for them to lick off as a reward.
  • Put a little toothpaste on a cotton bud, or your finger or finger glove. Gently lift their lip in one corner and rub the paste onto a tooth.
  • Repeat the above but stop before your cat becomes restless. If you can just do a few teeth at a time – it will still help! If you can progress to using a soft brush that's great but if not stick to a finger – but don't get bitten!
  • Try to do a few teeth every day. Good luck!

Other ways to help prevent dental disease in your cat

Take a look!

If you can’t brush your cats teeth, at least try to take a look at their teeth every month or so. Get someone to hold them and gently raise a lip on each side and at the front. Note any redness, tartar build-up or Feline Resorptive Lesions. Note any bleeding, fractures or nasty smells. If in doubt – make an appointment to have your cats teeth checked at your vets. Veterinary nurses are happy to check your cat’s teeth if you can’t. For further advice on dental disease in your cat >

Give your cat food which helps clean their teeth

You can feed your cat a complete dental care prescription food for optimal tooth and gum health. These foods have large kibbles that encourage chewing and rub against the tooth surface to remove the plaque that forms there.

Dental chews, toys and food additives.

There are plenty of things on the market which will claim to help prevent dental disease in your cat. Whilst there may be some dental benefit, and cats find them fun, overall they are likely to be less effective than the above.

Bones and “natural” cleaning methods

If your cat hunts and they tend to eat their prey; this is a natural activity which can help maintain tooth and gum health. Raw or cooked bones (either shop bought or home-made) may have benefit to some animals in some situations but also involve risks, you should discuss this with your vet.