Imagine you went years without ever brushing or flossing -- gross, right? If you don't take care of your cat's mouth, it can get nasty and smelly. Tooth-cleaning treats such as Greenies help, but they aren't necessarily the only step you should take.
What Plaque Does
A cat's mouth gets yucky the same way a person's mouth does. Bacteria builds up on her teeth, and that buildup is commonly known as plaque. Unless it's brushed or scraped away, plaque eventually turns to tartar, and it leads to issues like cavities, gingivitis and infections.
Issues like those aren't unpleasant just for your cat -- they can be pretty disagreeable for anyone she breathes on. A dirty mouth is a smelly mouth, so keeping plaque buildup in check is crucial for your kitty's sake and for your own.
How Greenies Work
Greenies Dental Treats are crunchy cat tidbits formulated and shaped to clean up your cat's teeth. The crunchy texture sweeps away plaque buildup, essentially cleaning the teeth as your cat eats, according to the company that makes these treats. Their grooves and ridges are designed to get between the teeth and scrape them off more effectively than a plain, rounded kibble would.
Versus Other Treats
The crunchy texture of a Greenies Dental Treat isn't unique in how it cleans teeth. Practically any crunchy treat, and even dry food, scrapes your cat's teeth as she eats. Even if your cat eats only moist food, she should still get crunchy treats. According to the company in 2012, Greenies are the No. 1 vet-recommended dental treat for cats, and the only one approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council for tartar reduction.
Advanced Dental Care
Caring for kitty's mouth doesn't stop with kicking her a treat here and there. Brushing your cat's teeth a few times a week helps as preventive care, although your cat probably won't thank you for it. If that's a little too hands-on for you, ask your veterinarian about regular teeth cleanings for your foul-mouthed little lady.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.