Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Cats > Cat Teeth Cleaning: Is It Necessary? (Vet Approved Advice)

Cat Teeth Cleaning: Is It Necessary? (Vet Approved Advice)

Vet cleaning cat teeth

Vet approved

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

While it’s becoming more common to hear about dental care for pups, there’s still the misconception out there that cats don’t need teeth cleanings. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Not only does your cat need you to brush their teeth, but they also need you to take them to the dentist for annual cleanings!

But why do you need to brush your cat’s teeth, and how often do you need to do it? We break down everything that you need to know about your cat’s oral hygiene here.

Why Cats Need Dental Care

While cats are generally clean creatures, there are common misconceptions about what they need regarding their hygiene. One dangerous misconception is that they don’t need dental care.
Cats need just as much dental care as dogs, and without this care, they can develop severe health issues, including gingivitis, gum disease, abscesses, and even heart, kidney, and liver problems!

The good news is that while your cats need dental care, it’s not that hard or expensive to get it for them. Keeping up with your cat’s oral hygiene can eliminate any future problems, saving you money and sparing your cat tons of pain!

brushing cat's teeth
Image by: cynoclub, Shutterstock

How Often Should You Brush Your Cat’s Teeth?

While most vets recommend a once-a-year dental checkup for your cat, they also recommend brushing your cat’s teeth two or three times a week to keep problems from cropping up in the first place. While brushing their teeth that often might seem a little excessive at first, when you think about how often you brush your own teeth, it makes perfect sense.

Just because your feline isn’t a human doesn’t mean that bacteria and plaque won’t start growing on their teeth after each meal!

What Should You Use to Brush Your Cat’s Teeth?

While your vet can recommend products for you to use on your cat, that doesn’t mean you want to head to the clinic every time you need feline toothpaste! The good news is that there are plenty of products out there that are perfectly safe for your cat. Just ensure that you’re using feline-specific products, including a cat-specific toothbrush!

Using cat-specific products ensures that your cat is getting exactly what they need and that everything is completely safe for them. So, while you might spend a little more, it’s worth every penny.

Of course, if you do have any questions about which product you should or shouldn’t use, you can always reach out to your cat’s vet to see if you’re using the best possible option.

cat toothbrush
Omage by: Alexander Dubrovsky, Shutterstock

Addressing Common Myths

While you do need to keep up with your cat’s oral hygiene to keep them healthy, there are a few more myths out there that we want to address. While you might think that you now know everything that you need to know about your cat’s dental health, any of these misconceptions can throw you off track.

Kibble Doesn’t Help

Many cat owners believe that they don’t need to brush their cat’s teeth because they feed them a dry kibble. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Kibble doesn’t offer near enough resistance to clean your cat’s teeth as they eat, meaning there’s not enough difference to your cat’s oral health when it comes to feeding them either wet or dry food.

You Likely Won’t Know If Your Cat Needs Dental Work

You might think that you’ll know when your cat needs dental work just by keeping an eye on them. The truth is that cats are especially adept at hiding pain. So, you might think that your cat is perfectly fine, but they might be in pain every time they chow down on their dinner!

That’s why it’s important to brush your cat’s teeth every few days to keep issues from popping up and to take them to a vet to check for potential problems. They will be able to tell you if your cat needs dental work through a visual inspection.

Don’t stress too much about the checkups. If there’s nothing wrong with your cat’s teeth, these checkups shouldn’t be expensive.

Cat Lose Teeth
Image by: jasna.B, Shutterstock

It’s Easy to Brush Your Cat’s Teeth

While your cat might not like you brushing their teeth the first time, they will get used to it and might even start to enjoy it! Use a toothpaste that has a flavor that your cat likes, but do keep in mind that if your cat does need dental work, brushing their teeth can hurt them.

So, ensure that your cat doesn’t need any dental work before starting a teeth-brushing routine. Otherwise, your cat might start to associate teeth brushing with pain. Once your cat starts to enjoy their teeth brushing sessions, it can be an excellent time for you to bond with your cat!


Final Thoughts

Just like you need to keep up with teeth brushing to keep your oral hygiene in check, your cat’s teeth need attention too! The good news is that it’s not expensive or difficult, and it can save you money in vet bills later!

So, what are you waiting for? Get your cat on an oral care routine today.

Featured Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets