Your feline companion’s health is about more than just feeding them kibble and making sure they have a cozy spot by the window. One often neglected aspect of cat health is their dental hygiene. Just like with humans, poor oral health in cats can lead to a variety of issues that can affect their overall well-being. Dental disease in cats is quite common and can lead to systemic infections, affecting the heart, kidneys, and liver. Here’s why you should be paying attention to your cat’s dental and how to care for them.

Why Cat Dental Health is Crucial

The mouth is the gateway to the body, and an unclean gateway can lead to several problems. In cats, dental issues can start with the buildup of plaque and tartar, leading to gingivitis and periodontal disease. But the impact doesn’t stop there. Dental problems can cause chronic pain, leading to behavioural changes and a decreased quality of life. They can also serve as a breeding ground for bacteria that can enter the bloodstream, affecting organs throughout the body.

Common dental problems in cats include dental calculus, gingivitis, and tooth resorption (a disease that can cause tooth loss). These issues can cause bad breath, reluctance to eat, drooling, and pawing at the mouth. If you notice any of these symptoms, a visit to the cat dentist—or a veterinarian with a focus on dental care—is crucial for diagnosis and treatment.

How to Care for Your Cat’s Teeth

Caring for your cat’s teeth doesn’t have to be a chore, and it’s certainly not as complicated as teaching them to floss! Here are some simple ways to keep your cat’s pearly whites in tip-top shape.

Regular Dental Check-ups

A yearly visit to the vet should include a thorough dental exam. While at home, keep an eye out for any changes in your cat’s behaviour, particularly during meal times. A cat dentist may be necessary to remove stubborn tartar and address any underlying issues. Remember, preventive care is easier and less expensive than dealing with advanced dental disease.

Brushing Their Teeth

Yes, you read that right—brushing your cat’s teeth is a thing! It may sound daunting, but with patience and practice, it’s possible to make it a part of their routine. Start slow—get your cat used to the smell and taste of pet toothpaste before even trying to brush. Then, gradually work your way up to brushing with a pet toothbrush or finger brush. Aim for a few seconds at first, then work up to a full 2-minute cat ‘brush’ twice a week.

Providing Dental Treats and Toys

Dental treats and toys can help to keep your cat’s teeth clean between brushings. Look for products that have been approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). These treats and toys often work by mechanical action, helping to scrape away plaque as your cat chews and plays.

Diet Considerations for Oral Health

Feeding your cat a diet that promotes dental health is another way to support their oral hygiene. There are specially formulated dental diets that use a larger kibble size or a specific texture to promote chewing, which can help reduce plaque and tartar. With a varied approach to dental care, you can improve not just your cat’s breath, but also their health and well-being.


As a cat owner, it’s important to remember that your feline friend relies on you for their overall health and well-being. Paying attention to cats’ dental hygiene may not seem like a big deal, but it can have a significant impact on their quality of life. With regular check-ups, brushing, and providing appropriate treats and food, you can keep your cat’s teeth healthy and happy, ensuring that they can continue to purr and play for years to come. So don’t forget about your cat’s dental health – it matters more than you may realize!