Q & A: Cleaning cat teeth

Q: I recently read that dogs’ teeth should be cleaned regularly. What about cat teeth, and how often should that happen?

A: Cats are affected by many of the same dental problems that affect dogs, so what applies to dogs should in theory apply to cats too. Daily removal of plaque is the key to an oral hygiene programme. Unless your pet’s teeth are brushed daily, plaque, which is an accumulation of bacteria, will build up on the teeth and gums.

The plaque becomes mineralised, producing calculus.

Home care of the teeth is never perfect and periodically calculus must be properly removed and the tooth surface polished and disinfected by a veterinarian.

The intervals between teeth cleaning procedures will depend on how often you can brush your pet’s teeth. Once or twice daily cleaning is optimum, but usually not practical.

Animals (especially cats) will tolerate teeth cleaning better if you have introduced this at a young age.

If you cannot brush the teeth, then your pet will probably need two or three veterinary visits for teeth cleaning a year.

Dr Vanessa Mcclure, veterinarian

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