Many people do not brush their cats teeth often enough, some have never done it. If your cat’s teeth are not brushed, bacteria will build up and could result in loss of teeth. You should brush your cat’s teeth every week. If you have a kitten you should start brushing when all of its 36 teeth have grown which is around 6 months of age. If you have an adult cat, introduce slowly and keep the sessions short.
You can buy special toothbrushes designed for cats but a child’s toothbrush will be just as good, just make sure the bristles are soft so they do not cut the gums. Do not use normal toothpaste because it will cause digestive problems and make your cat sick. You can buy special cat toothpaste from your pet shop, vet or online.
To properly brush your cat’s teeth start by gently brushing the outer surface of the teeth. Do not brush the inside of the teeth until your cat is used to the process. Brush in a circular motion from the bottom of the gum to the tips of the teeth. Some cats require professional cleaning when there is a severe build up of tartar. When brushing your cat’s teeth note the condition of your cat’s gums.
Consult your vet if the gums are swollen, if there is any bleeding, bad breath, drooling, dark spots, sores, refusal to open mouth or reluctance to eat. If your cat has any of these symptoms there is a chance that it has gum disease. Gum disease is common in cats and can be fatal unless treated. It begins with the build up of plaque and tartar which causes the roots to become infected. This can be prevented by regular brushing.