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how to brush cat teeth

How to Brush Your Cat’s Teeth? A Complete Guide

Does your cat’s breath smell like an abandoned fish market? Jokes Aside, smelly breath and dirty gums can lead to several health problems in a cat. Keeping your cat’s gums and teeth clean and healthy may help avoid periodontal disease and other health problems (beyond bad breath).

If you are scrolling down on the internet to find that perfect article illustrating “How to brush your cat teeth”, then scroll no more and read the information in this article.

Learning how to clean your cat’s teeth is only one step toward avoiding these health issues from occurring.  This is why occasional if not regular brushing is required for the good health of your cat.

Here, in this article, we not only explain the complete process of “How to brush your cat teeth”, But also provide you other necessary information on the topic.

Why should You Clean Your Cat’s Teeth?

Imagine not cleaning your teeth for a year, and you’ll get a sense of what it’s like to be a cat. Not brushing your cat’s teeth is a very slippery road. After a few days of not brushing, plaque hardens (calcifies) into tartar, which is more difficult to remove later in time. That doesn’t even take into account what may happen under the gum line. Here are a few medical phrases that can persuade you of the necessity of cleaning your cat teeth.

  • Plaque:The filmy, sticky substance on your teeth (which cats can get, too).
  • Tartar: The brown crusty material that accumulates on the teeth of cats over time.
  • Periodontitis: A severe gum infection that causes gum destruction and may ruin the jawbone.

We understand—you hardly have time to clean your own teeth, then how come you may patiently sit with your cat and struggling to brush their teeth. The good news is that cleaning your cat’s teeth should only take a few minutes each day. The more you practice, the simpler (and less expensive) dental care will become in the long term.

How often should you clean your cat’s teeth?

Ideally, you should brush your cat’s teeth every day and schedule a professional dental cleaning with your veterinarian once a year. If your cat’s gums and teeth are in poor condition or are very sensitive/painful (and if they haven’t been spotless in a while), schedule a professional cleaning at your veterinarian’s office.

Read Also:  Can Cats Eat Broccoli

What you’ll need to Brush Your Cat’s Teeth?


You’ll need the following items to clean your cat’s teeth.

Don’t attempt to stuff an enormous human toothbrush into your cat’s mouth; instead, choose a smaller alternative that fits better. Consider one of the following options:

  • A child’s toothbrush (with extra soft bristles)
  • A toothbrush made of sponge (you can usually find them in the dental aisle at the store or purchase them online)
  • A cat toothbrush that fits on your finger.
  • If your cat rejects every brush you attempt, you may rub the plaque off their teeth and gums using a clean washcloth or squares of gauze.
  • After that, get some pet toothpaste (do not use human toothpaste). Cats like the flavor of pet toothpaste, since it is intended to be safe to ingest.

How to Teach Your Cat to Accept Tooth-brushing?

Brushing the outer surfaces of your cat’s teeth once a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and veterinarian toothpaste is the objective. It may take a few weeks for your cat to become used to you cleaning her teeth. It is important to stick to your schedule and make this a pleasant experience for both you and your cat.

  • Choose a Time

Cats react to consistency, so clean her teeth at the same time every day. Choose a calm time of day and a time when your cat is typically hungry — not just after you come home from work.

  • Select a Reward

Choose a motivating incentive for your cats, such as a favorite food or anything else that makes them happy (i.e., play, petting, or brushing). If your cat believes this is a fun game with prizes, she will be willing to participate. If you’re going to use food, make sure you have small pieces of it on hand.

  • Set the Surrounding and Maintain a Positive Attitude

Place your cat on a big chair, sofa, or your lap next to you. Maintain a good attitude while speaking in a calm, soft tone. Your cat will detect and react to any worry you may be experiencing. Remember to have realistic expectations about how quickly you will improve, but be persistent.

How do you get your cat ready for a toothbrush?

Brushing your cat’s teeth must be a pleasant experience for both of you in order to be effective. Follow these for the best results:

  • To begin, choose a peaceful time and location. Choose a small place where you can sit with your cat, such as a tabletop or a counter. Make sure a blanket or towel is spread over the area before sitting her down. Make sure the area has a door that can be closed to block off escape routes.
  • Rub your cat’s face, cheeks, and the area surrounding their lips.
  • Set your cat’s head at a 45-degree angle and gently draw her lips back; the mouth may stay closed.
  • Dip a cotton swab (Q-tip) into tuna water from a tuna fish can. The tuna water has no dental or cleaning benefits, but most cats like the flavor, so there will be a positive association between the tuna juice and the teeth brushing experience.
  • Gently rub the applicator tip along the gum-to-tooth contact area (the gingival margin). This is the site where plaque collects and gingivitis develops. Only the teeth’ outer surfaces need to be massaged.
  • For the first few sessions, massage the cotton swab around a few teeth rather than the whole mouth, particularly if your cat is uncertain or frightened about the procedure.
  • It is the right time to introduce the toothbrush when your cat is completely comfortable with you touching her teeth with a cotton swab.

Which Toothbrush should you use?


  • There are commercial toothbrushes developed especially for use in cats, such as Brushes with tilted handles
  • Tiny brushes that fit easily in your hand
  • Finger toothbrushes that are designed to fit the tip of your fingers

It is okay to use a very soft toothbrush intended for human infants on certain cats. The toothbrush should be very gentle. You may also use a cotton swab, a finger toothbrush, or gauze wrapped around a finger.

If you are unsure about which brush to use, see your veterinarian. 

Finally, it is best to use a brush with bristles that can reach the tooth/gum interface just below the gum line.

It is essential to be careful and move slowly while brushing your teeth, regardless of the kind of toothbrush you use, since it is possible to inadvertently push the tip of the toothbrush against the gums and create discomfort.

How should you Clean My Cat’s Teeth?

Follow these instructions for good teeth brushing session with your cat:

  • Brush the toothbrush with a little quantity of toothpaste. 
  • Set your cat’s head at a 45-degree angle and gently draw her lips back; the mouth may stay closed.
  • Brush the big cheek teeth and the canine teeth first, since these are the teeth where plaque and tartar build the most rapidly.
  • Brushing the tips or insides of your cat’s teeth is not necessary unless your cat is very cooperative. 
  • The majority of periodontal damage occurs on the outside surfaces of the teeth and around the roots, so focus your efforts there. 
  • The abrasive tongue of the cat tends to eliminate plaque from the inner surfaces of the teeth, decreasing the need for these areas to be brushed.
  • Gradually work your way up to clean all of your teeth (this will probably take several days or weeks). 
  • Make certain that you reach the large teeth in the rear of the mouth. 
  • Continue brushing your cat’s teeth if they are comfortable with it. 
  • Brush a few teeth at a time if necessary, taking snuggle breaks in between.
  • Ensure to rush for about 30 seconds on the right side, followed by the left one.

Is there Anything else you should be Aware of as Cat Parent?

Yes. Because a cat’s mouth contains a lot of germs, cleaning your cat’s teeth should be done using gloves if at all feasible. If this makes it difficult for you to properly brush your teeth, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water afterward. Also, properly clean the toothbrush before storing it. Replace the toothbrush every three months, and use a separate toothbrush for each cat if you have more than one.

Alternative Home Care Techniques for Cat

No matter how hard you try, some cats will not accept brushing. There are still methods to help reduce plaque and tartar development in certain cases:


  • If your cat is already on soft food, switching to or adding dry food to his or her diet may help to decrease plaque and tartar buildup. However, consult your veterinarian first to verify that a food modification is safe for your cat.
  • Cat dental chews are typically available through your veterinarian or a pet store. They come in a variety of flavors and may help reduce (but not prevent) plaque and tartar development — ask your veterinarian about the most effective dental chews.
  • If your cat enjoys toothpaste, try sprinkling some on dry food or dental chews to enable the toothpaste to rub against his teeth.
  • Chlorhexidine mouthwashes or gels (an antiseptic that is helpful in managing germs in the mouth) are available. These aid in the reduction of bacterial development in the mouth, but continuous usage may discolor the tooth enamel.
  • Your veterinarian may also recommend a special ‘dental diet’ for your cat. Certain foods have been specifically designed to help reduce plaque and tartar. They may be especially useful in cats with the dental disease where home brushing is difficult.
  • While your cat is likely to need dental treatment at some point in its life, regular dental home care may significantly improve oral health and minimize the need for dental treatments, which can benefit both you and your cat.

Conclusion: How to Brush Your Cat Teeth?

Brushing your cat’s teeth is a big struggle that needs absolute resilience. If you want to know the key to “How to brush your cat Teeth”, then remember love, support, patience, and continuous efforts are the key. 

Your cat may despise the idea of you brushing their teeth but with the right information, as mentioned above, could lead you in the right direction. 

Brushing is as necessary for your cat as it is for you, so never skip it and make it a habit of brushing your cat’s teeth. We hope this article on “How to brush your cat Teeth” was helpful, and you are on the road to becoming a pro when it comes to brushing your cat’s teeth.

For more informative articles like “How to brush your cat Teeth”, visit our Cat care website and become the best cat friend effortlessly.

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