Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth

Tips

Teaching your cat to accept brushing will take some training, but it will be very beneficial to the cat once he is accustomed to the process. Daily brushing is the most beneficial and will help establish a routine for your pet, but brushing twice a week is acceptable if your schedule can’t accommodate daily brushing. It is best to start brushing your cat’s teeth while he is still a kitten. If you have an older cat, getting him used to the process may take a little longer.

  • Choose a quiet time and place to start the brushing.
  • Hold your cat securely in your lap.
  • Start by rubbing your finger or a soft cloth over the cat’s teeth in a back-and-forth motion. Be careful to stay on the outsides of the teeth, along the cheek, to avoid being bitten by accident.
  • Once the cat is comfortable with this, you may let him or her taste a little bit of toothpaste from your finger. Pet toothpaste is recommended and is very appetizing to most cats, and it may make brushing more enjoyable. Human toothpaste should not be used as it can give your cat an upset stomach.
  • Once the cat has accepted the taste of the toothpaste, apply a small amount to a toothbrush. A human interdental toothbrush works well for most cats. Begin by placing your free hand over your cat’s head, and place your thumb and index finger on opposite sides of your cat’s upper jaw. Gently raise your cat’s lip on one side and begin by brushing one or two cheek teeth. This type of toothbrush should be placed right along the gumline and used in a straight, back-and-forth motion. Start from the back and work toward the midline of the jaw.
  • In order to brush the lower teeth, you must open your cat’s mouth slightly. To do this, gently tilt your cat’s head backward while holding on to his upper jaw with the thumb and index finger of your free hand.
  • Gradually work up to brushing all of his teeth. This will probably take several days. Make sure you reach the big teeth at the back of his mouth.
  • Generally, only the outer surfaces of the teeth need to be cleaned. The tongue tends to remove plaque from the inner surfaces.
  • Try to brush for approximately 30 seconds per side.
  • A cat’s mouth houses plenty of harmful bacteria, so wash your hands and the toothbrush thoroughly when you are done.