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Published: Jun 27, 2012

In order to prevent dental disease in cats, pet owners need to be sure they have their brushing techniques down. Consistent and proper teeth cleaning for cats can help ward off dental issues, but it will require dedication on the owner's part to truly prevent future problems.

One good habit to get into is to simply brush your cat's teeth every time you brush your own. Some owners may have all the intention of keeping their cat's teeth healthy, but simply forget or get out of the habit of doing it. By timing it with your own dental hygiene, it becomes part of the daily routine.

Keep in mind that a toothbrush being inserted into a cat's mouth will be quite foreign for the feline at first. Fortunately, it's likely the cat will adapt over time if the brushing happens regularly. VCA Animal Hospitals recommends owners teach their cats about brushing when the feline is a kitten, if possible. While older cats will eventually adapt to daily brushing, it will take longer to get the cat into a habit if it is not used to it.

Owners should be sure to invest in specialized pet toothpaste and toothbrushes for their cat. Human toothpaste is not meant for cats and may even be poisonous to them. In addition, cat toothpaste is specially flavored to taste good for the cat. This will help the feline be more eager about the brushing process.

Toothbrushes designed for people are much too large for a cat's mouth and it is difficult to adequately clean a cat's teeth properly with these brushes. Many cat owners find it easier to use a rubber finger toothbrush. This is essentially a rubber sleeve with a square of bristles on the end which can be placed over the finger.

Most cats keep the inner surface of their teeth relatively clean so owners should focus their brushing efforts on the outer surfaces of the teeth. At first, it might only be possible to brush a few teeth, depending on the cat's cooperation. This is okay - it may take weeks or months for the cat to eventually be okay with the process and allow you to get all the teeth. Keep in mind that in order to brush the lower teeth, the cat's mouth will need to be open slightly. This can be accomplished by tilting the animal's head back slightly. Patience is required as you begin a brushing routine with your cat but in time you will both become more comfortable with the routine.