The Importance of Cat Teeth Cleaning

November 3, 2016 at 9:00 AM by Nikki Wardle

Kitty brushing teeth

Cats are pretty independent creatures. They can feed themselves, bathe themselves, and entertain themselves--but one thing they can't do is brush their own teeth! Teeth cleaning is an extremely important part of every cat's healthcare regimen, and although your furry friend probably won't be too eager to thank you now, it will pay off in the future.

Dental Health

Dental health is just as important for your pets as it is for you--and this is especially true for cats. Even the smallest discomfort or dental issue can cause much bigger health problems, from lack of appetite to weight loss to larger-scale internal issues. Tooth brushing is no joke!

As a "pet parent," the first line of defense from possible dental problems is daily teeth brushing. It may not be easy at first, and your cat probably won't like it, but this is a crucial step in preventing problems in the future. With a little bit of practice (and maybe an extra pair of hands), brushing your cat's teeth will become easier and easier.

The next step in maintaining your cat's dental health is to keep to a regular schedule for professional teeth cleanings and checkups. Cleanings should begin when cats are one year old. This might seem early, but the truth is that, without regular dental checkups, most cats will already be in the first stages of periodontal disease by the age of three. The frequency of cleaning appointments will depend on how able (and willing) you are to take care of your cat's teeth at home. If you just can't get the hang of it, cleanings might need to be scheduled every four to six months, while a cat-tooth-brushing master would only need appointments every two to three years. Checkups, however, should be annual.

These two simple steps will help to keep your cat's mouth happy and healthy--but there's more to it than that. A lot of importance rests on just what happens during those dental checkups, so you'll want to do your homework.

Behind the Scenes: Kitty Dentistry

What does a cat's dental checkup look like? What is the most important thing for a safe cleaning? Our pet care experts want you to have all the information so your cat's smile stays bright and healthy.

  • Checkups. A cat's dental checkup will look remarkably like yours. The veterinarian will ask how well and often you've been cleaning your cat's teeth, and then there will be a short exam. The health of the teeth, gums, and mouth usually fall under the microscope; your vet is looking for signs of dental issues, like bad breath or tartar. After this, the vet will be able to let you know what needs to be done, and then a cleaning can be scheduled.
  • Cleanings. Cleanings are usually based on information gathered from an x-ray, just to make sure that every tooth is being treated right. Just like in your cleanings, the tartar and plaque is removed, the teeth are polished, and, sometimes, fluoride is even applied.
  • Safety. The most important consideration in kitty dentistry is safety--both for the furry patient and for the vet. Unfortunately, cats don't much like dental work, so complete dental cleanings always involve anesthesia. This can cause anxiety in many owners--but our dedicated nurses are always on hand to monitor and gauge anesthesia levels, leaving the expert dentists to their work. That means your cat will be comfortable and you can rest easy knowing that you put dental care in the right hands.

Interested in more information about the importance of cat teeth cleaning? Looking for a clinic that does it all, from cleanings to checkups (with extra attention payed to anesthesia safety)? Contact us today!

Topics: Pet Teeth Cleaning

Nikki Wardle

Written by Nikki Wardle

Nikki has been writing for Intermountain Pet Hospital since 2014.