Even though your indoor cat might not be catching any mice any time soon, there’s still plenty of work to be done that requires strong, healthy teeth. Your cat’s dental care is just as important as any other aspect of their health.

Some foods help maintain sound oral health, like those that prevent cavities, some which whiten your teeth, and those which give you fresh breath., so here are some important tips to keep in mind when It comes to kitty dental hygiene.

1. Don’t Use Human Toothpaste

While it’s great that you’re tackling teeth cleaning at home, make sure you do not use human toothpaste with your cat. The levels of fluoride and foaming agents in human toothpaste can be harmful to your cat’s digestive system, as can baking soda and salt.

Plus, the minty flavor is too powerful for your kitty. Toothpaste formulated especially for cats comes in yummy flavors like tuna, chicken, and beef and is safe of their tummies.

2. Mind the Gums!

Part of having a healthy mouth is having healthy gums. Pet MD notes that tooth decay in cats usually begins with gum Issues; irritation or Inflammation. Before you massage your kitty’s gums, make sure they are a healthy pink color.

Avoid massaging gums if you see any sores or red, inflamed areas and get them to a vet. Put a bit of the cat-approved toothpaste on your finger and gently introduce the idea to your feline friend. Massaging the gums is a great way to get them prepared for bristle brushing, but it also stimulates healthy growth and healing.

3. Try a Toothbrush Especially for Cats

Ideally, they make cat-specific toothbrushes that are small enough to fit inside their mouths but are made of nice rubber bristles. There are also finger brushes that just slip on your finger, but be cautious as you don’t want to promote the idea that human fingers are meant for the feline mouth.

While a human toothbrush won’t necessarily harm your cat, if you can’t get a hold of a cat-specific toothbrush, the ASPCA recommends using a baby toothbrush because of its size and extra soft bristles.

4. Provide Dental-Friendly Treats and Toys

If your kitty will not cooperate with brush cleaning you can ask for or find a vet-approved dental spray with enzymes that help control plaque and tartar build-up. You can also provide cat food that is formulated to specifically tackle cat dental hygiene.

Greenies, dental treats, or cat toys designed especially for chewing are supplemental ways to keep your cat’s teeth and gums healthy. Be careful that the toys you provide aren’t too hard. If you cannot leave a mark on the toy with your thumbnail, then it’s too hard and may fracture your kitty’s teeth.

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