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5 Steps to Save Your Cat’s Teeth

5 Steps to Save Your Cat’s Teeth

Dental disease is a common problem in cats and can lead to a variety of health issues. It is estimated that 70% of cats over the age of 3 years suffer from some degree of periodontal disease . Every time a cat with periodontal disease chews, bacteria are showered into the bloodstream, which then lodges in the kidneys, liver, and heart causing damage and disease. Additionally, fractured teeth, feline resorptive lesions, and tooth root abscesses are painful and can act as a constant source of discomfort for your cat. Here are a few steps you can take to help maintain the dental health of your cat.

1. Start Brushing Your Cat's Teeth Early
Start brushing your cat’s teeth when they are still young as part of a routine grooming protocol. This will acclimate your kitten to the sensation of having its teeth brushed and prevent her from being afraid. This is also a great way to spend time with your cat while improving her health. However, don't despair if you and your older cat have yet to establish a tooth brushing routine…

2. Make Cat Tooth Brushing a Regular Affair
Every day is best, but if that isn’t possible aim for multiple times a week. Schedule the brushing sessions at the same time and place every day, and make it fun. This way your cat won't consider it a chore; she may even start reminding you when it's time to whip out the cat toothbrush.
You'll want to start with baby steps, regardless of your cat's age. Start by letting your cat lick flavored toothpaste made specifically for pets from your finger or the toothbrush, and then brush a few teeth (never use human toothpaste, as it can be toxic to your cat if allowed to ingest too much). When you are finished with the tooth brushing session, use a cat treat as a reward for tolerating the experience. With time and practice, your cat will eventually allow you to brush her whole mouth. However, do keep in mind that you only have to brush the outside surfaces of the cat teeth. Her tongue will keep the inside surfaces clean.

3. Buy Products with VOHC Seal
There are many products to help supplement your cat brushing routine such as treats, chews and oral rinses. With all oral hygiene products including cat toothpaste, look for the VOHC seal. This indicates that the Veterinary Oral Health Council certifies the product will be effective in reducing plaque and tartar when used as directed. The most effective products have a VOHC seal that says, "controls plaque".

For the complete slideshow on 5 Steps to Save Your Cat's Teeth, visit petMD!

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