“Dental disease — especially periodontal disease — is the most common of all feline diseases,” says Dr. William Rosenblad. “You can reduce or even prevent its occurrence by feeding your cat a crunchy diet and brushing its teeth daily.” Following are the steps to guide you on brushing:
- Pick a time of day that will become a convenient part of your cat’s daily routine — and your routine as well.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and veterinary toothpaste. (Do not use toothpaste that has been formulated for humans.)
- On the first day, start by offering your cat a taste of the toothpaste. The next day, run your fingers along the gums of your cat’s upper teeth. When she seems to be comfortable with this activity, start repeating the process with the toothbrush.
- Direct the bristles of the brush along the gumline of the upper back teeth and angle it slightly upward so that the bristles get under the gumline.
- Work the brush from back to front, making small circles along the gumline.
- Do not try to brush the entire mouth at first. Eventually, your cat may allow you to brush most of her teeth during the course of a single session.
“Keep in mind,” Dr. Rosenblad advises, “that even with the best at-home tooth brushing, any cat is still likely to need an occasional exam and cleaning by a qualified professional.”