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Brushing Up: The Lowdown on Your Cat’s Dental Health

Dental care actually helps overall well-being

Overview

Keep kitty’s choppers in top shape

Dental problems in cats begin with plaque, the bacterial film that builds up on teeth. Over time plaque can cause gum infection, tooth decay and infections that can affect your pet’s heart, liver and kidneys.

Hardened calcium deposits called tartar, which builds up over time, can also contribute to tooth decay.

Your cat may have dental issues if you notice:

  • Bad breath
  • Yellow or brown deposits on teeth that aren’t easily scraped away
  • Bleeding in the mouth
  • Inflamed, red gums

Prevent before you regret

Pet teeth need maintenance, too. Take your cat to the vet for regular dental checkups and, if necessary, cleanings. If you dare, you can even try brushing your cat’s teeth once a week. (Good luck with that.)

Think beyond the brush: cat food helps too

Dental kibble and dental chews may be in order for some cats. Manufacturers of specially made foods approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (look for the VOHC seal on the package) say that the shape and chewiness of the pieces can help scrape away plaque.

These foods may also contain ingredients that can contribute to feline dental wellness, including fiber, which helps remove plaque and tartar, and polyphosphate salts, which can keep calcium from sticking to your cat’s teeth and hardening into tartar.

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