Ask a Vet:
How often should I clean my cats teeth? And how do I do it?

Just like humans, you should brush your cat’s teeth every day, or at least every other day.

Teeth Cleaning For Cats

You need to start with a clean mouth, so if you’ve never visited us for a dental cleaning for your cat, now’s the time to make an appointment.  Maintenance and home care is important after we scrape the years of buildup off those pearly whites.

How To Clean Cat Teeth

  1. First, have your cat get used to the taste of the toothpaste. Pet toothpastes have a poultry, malt, or other flavor so your dog will like the taste. Get your cat used to the flavor and consistency of the toothpaste. Let your cat lick some off your finger. Praise your cat when he licks the paste and give a reward (really tasty treat). If your cat does not like the taste of the toothpaste, you may need to try a different kind. Continue this step for a few days or until your cat looks forward to licking the paste.
  2. The next step is to have your cat become comfortable with having something placed against his teeth and gums. Apply a small amount of paste to your finger and gently rub it on one of the large canine teeth in the front of the mouth. These are the easiest teeth for you to get at and will give you some easier practice. Be sure to praise your cat and give a tasty treat or other special reward (e.g., playing ball).
  3. After your cat is used to the toothpaste, and having something applied to his teeth, get him used to the toothbrush or dental sponge you will be using routinely. We need to get your cat used to the consistency of these items, especially the bristles on a brush. So, let your cat lick the toothpaste off of the brush so he gets used to the texture. Again, praise your cat when he licks the paste and give a really great treat or other reward . Continue this step for about a week, making sure your cat readily licks the paste off of the brush.
  4. Now your cat is used to the toothbrush and toothpaste and having something in his mouth. So the next step is to start brushing. Talk to your cat in a happy voice during the process and praise your dog at the end. Lift the upper lip gently and place the brush at a 45º angle to the gumline. Gently move the brush back and forth. At first, you may just want to brush one or both upper canine teeth. You do not need to brush the inside surface of the teeth (the side towards the tongue). The movement of the tongue over the inside surfaces keeps them relatively free of plaque. Be sure to praise your cat, end on a good note and give a tasty treat or other great reward.
  5. When your cat accepts having several teeth brushed, slowly increase the number of teeth you are brushing. Again, by making it appear to be a game, you both will have fun doing it.

Make your cat’s dental appointment today