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Dental Care For Cats

Dental Care For Cats

Have you ever considered using chicken flavored toothpaste? Probably not? But it really exists, and it’s even a big hit in certain feline circles. Because even cats need their teeth brushed on a fairly regular basis.

You may already have had dental issues with your cat, when it went in to the vet for a regular checkup and the doctor found a lot of plaque on its teeth. While much of this can be dealt with during checkups, sometimes it builds up so heavily that the cat actually has to be sedated to do the deep cleaning work. And believe it or not, your cat can even get cavities and need fillings.

Cat teeth follow rather a similar cycle to human teeth. The milk teeth – what humans call “baby teeth” – come in first. There are 26 of these, and they finish emerging quite early in the kitten’s life, at about six weeks of age. They only last perhaps three months until they begin falling out, to be replaced gradually by permanent teeth, until the kitten is about 9 months old.

And being made of the same sort of material, a cat’s teeth can suffer the same problems as human teeth. They get cavities if the teeth aren’t cleaned, and they can have gum irritations and disease as well. Tooth and gum problems can lead to even worse health issues too. Harmful bacteria can spread from the mouth and end up doing damage to the heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs. Bad teeth can affect how well a cat can handle surgery, and might even need to be pulled to make sure that no infection gets into the bloodstream during an operation.

So in the same way that human beings are supposed to take care of their teeth, more and more veterinarians are recommending that you also brush your cat’s teeth regularly, preferably every day. That’s where the chicken flavored toothpaste enters the picture. But the toothpaste doesn’t have to be flavored at all, as long as it’s a product that was designed specifically for cats. A vet-recommended toothpaste will be more likely to contain ingredients that are safe for these pets than anything that’s been made for humans. If it tastes like chicken or beef, making it more pleasurable, well, that’s a nice bonus.

There is also a range of brushes for use on cats’ teeth. You may decide on the plastic cover that fits over the end of your finger, with tiny, flexible plastic bristles on one side. Using this, you can hold the jaws open with one hand while quickly brushing over the teeth with a finger on the other hand. But you may want to use something more elaborate instead. At least one kind of brush has been designed especially for the unique arrangement of pets’ teeth: the triple pet toothbrush. As the name suggests, there are actually three brushes close together, almost in a semi-circle, so that one brush cleans the inner surface of the teeth, one runs along the outer, and the middle brush goes over the tips of the teeth. This brush has the distinct advantage of letting you cover all these surfaces simultaneously, so both you and the cat will be inconvenienced for as short a time as possible.

Just like you do, your cat needs healthy teeth. Daily brushing and regular cleaning at the vet will go a long way toward accomplishing that goal. And chicken flavor! What a bonus.

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