The first time that your veterinarian suggested brushing your cat’s teeth, you probably felt that he was overly confident that you would succeed. While brushing is the most effective way to care for your kitty’s pearly whites, dental rinses also help to minimize plaque and tartar buildup.
Perils of Plaque Beyond Your Cat’s Mouth
More than 50 percent of cats under the age of 3 are afflicted with periodontal disease. The long-term affects are more detrimental than a kitty with bad breath. The infectious bacteria can ultimately invade the blood stream and lead to damaging consequences to your cat’s kidneys, heart, liver and other organs. A comprehensive home dental care routine that includes brushing and a dental rinse goes a long way to preserving your cat’s teeth and maintaining her overall health.
Dental Care Begins At Home
Because of the fibrous bristles rubbing against the surface of the teeth and flicking away particles of debris, brushing remains the most effective method for reducing plaque accumulation in between professional dental cleanings. Many cats will accept tooth brushing if you acclimate them to the process in gradual steps. Approach the task with patience and make it a pleasant experience for her with soothing reassurance and a reward after each session. Make tooth brushing a part of your kitty’s daily care routine.
Rinsing Toward a Cleaner Mouth
If your feline friend turns feisty and refuses to cooperate for brushing, apply a simple squirt of dental rinse instead. Oral rinses that contain chlorhexadine gluconate are effective antiseptics that bind to gum tissues and tooth surfaces. Chlorhexadine kills bacteria, reducing plaque and retarding the accumulation of tartar. Rinses may be used alone or as a supplement with brushing. Use only dental rinses and toothpastes that are formulated for cats. Because your cat will be swallowing these products, they don’t contain foaming detergents and harsh abrasives that human variations include. Those displaying the Veterinary Oral Health Council seal have met standards that are proven to slow the accumulation of plaque and tartar.
My, What Clean Teeth You Have!
Periodontal disease is one of the most common health problems in cats. Be proactive by instituting a regular routine of home dental care to help prevent this painful and potentially life-threatening condition. Just as you visit your dentist periodically, your cat may still require the occasional veterinary dental procedure, but you will be able to reduce the number of these cleanings needed over her lifetime. A combination of brushing, rinsing and dental treats will reduce bacteria, resulting in clean, healthy teeth and improved overall health.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.