Should I Brush My Cat’s Teeth? Here is Why You Should!

Written by

Amy Sawy

Veterinarian. DVM


Joseph M. Plummer

Veterinarian, DVM, MVZ

should i brush my cat's teeth

One might think that cats will be alright, regardless of whether they are given dental care or not, but it’s important for cats to receive proper oral care. So, to answer your question of ‘Should I brush my cat’s teeth?’ you should.

You need to brush your cat’s teeth because if you don’t, it will put them at risk of dental diseases and affect their long-term oral health.

Reasons Why I Should Brush My Cat’s Teeth

It’s a common belief that cats are low-maintenance. Some owners would ask themselves, “Do I need to brush my cat’s teeth?” and decide against it.

If you have the same thought, your pet might develop dental problems. You don’t have to go far to see proof of this; Reddit is an excellent source.

Here are the reasons why you should make a habit of brushing your cat’s teeth.

1. Maintaining your cat’s long-term oral health


Cats, just like humans, need to take care of their oral health. If a human doesn’t brush their teeth, it’ll cause problems, and it’s the same if you don’t start brushing cats teeth. It is your responsibility as their owner to take care of their health and needs.

Brush a cat’s teeth to prevent the build-up of dental plaque and tartar formation. Plaque is a discolored and sticky substance that you can also find on your teeth. Meanwhile, tartar is darker and harder.

Once the plaque build-up hardens, it will turn into tartar, and this is harder to remove than plaque.

If you allow it to accumulate, cats’ teeth, gums, and general oral health will be at risk. The prevention of that build-up will result in healthy gums and better breath.

2. Prevent potential dental diseases

Dental diseases are possible for felines, and if a cat ever falls victim to them, it would cause them a significant amount of pain, which is why you’re supposed to brush your cats teeth.

In severe cases, your furry companion will need more than one tooth extraction. Once a cat has an infection, its lifespan may shorten if the bacteria manage to get into the bloodstream.

How to Brush My Cat’s Teeth?

If you want to brush your cat’s teeth safely, then make sure you do so with cat toothpaste and not with human toothpaste. The latter was chemically structured to fit us and have ingredients that can cause harm to animals.

Step 1: Make your cat comfortable

You must make sure that your pet is not in an irritated mood before you clean their mouth. It is best if they feel comfortable and calm so that brushing cats teeth would be easier on both of you.

Cat teeth close up along with its mouth if they’re not comfortable.

Make your pet comfortable by sitting close to them and massaging their face. Once they’re in a content state, you can proceed with the next step.

Step 2: Let your cat grow accustomed to your finger


You don’t want to stick anything in your cat’s mouth without warning. You must make them grow accustomed to your finger first, so they know what’s coming.

Do this by lifting your pet’s lips. Then, put your finger in your cat’s mouth without toothpaste.

If they’re not content with having you fiddle around with their mouth, you can dip your finger in food they like.

Let your cat lick the food flavor for a few moments, and gently rub your fingers along their gums before you brush a cats teeth.

Step 3: Let your cat know the taste of toothpaste

Apply a small amount of cat toothpaste to your finger and do the same thing you did with the food. Let your cat lick it for a short while, so they know what’s going into their mouth, and proceed to rub the paste along their gums.

Step 4: Introduce them to the brush of your choice


This step is the part where you let cats see the brush you will use on them.

Start by adding toothpaste to the brush and gently move it on the front of their teeth. Open up the front of your cat’s mouth gently, and then make slow brushing motions until you reach the back of the teeth.

Step 5: Repeat

Cat tooth brushing can be a slow process. Keep an eye out for your cat’s reactions, and stop if you think they’re starting to get upset. It’s alright to take little breaks to calm them down.

Repeat the brushing until you finish.

How to Get Your Cat Used to Brush

If you haven’t introduced your cat to brushing yet, you have to familiarize them with it. It is recommended to incorporate treats into every step of the training process to encourage your cat.

At the same time, you can do the tricks we described above (letting your cat lick toothpaste off your finger and a brush), but repeat the process over three weeks rather than one session before brushing your pet’s teeth.



When should I brush my cat’s teeth?

You can introduce brushing to your cat at any age, but it is essential to do it gradually and not immediately.

Moreover, before you start brushing kitten’s teeth, take it to the vet. Your vet needs to clean your cat’s teeth and polish them first.

Once this is done, give your cat a few days to heal before starting your home care and kitten teeth brushing.

How often should I brush my cat’s teeth?

You must create a routine, regardless of whether they’re young or old. It’s recommended to brush your cat’s teeth daily, and you can also try doing it twice.

Besides home dental care, you must also take your pet to your preferred veterinarian at least once a year for a professional dental cleaning. This way, if there’s any problem, a doctor can spot it right away.

What type of toothbrush should I use?

It’s best to use a cat toothbrush, one that was specifically designed for felines. If you have more than one pet, you must get separate toothbrushes and make sure they don’t share.

There is also the option of a finger brush beside the traditional regular toothbrush. However, only use this when you’re sure that you’ve properly trained your cat and that you won’t be put at risk of biting.


Contrary to popular belief, you can’t just leave your cat’s teeth to its own care. Just like humans, they need maintenance. Otherwise, periodontal disease would cause them pain and even put them at risk of death.

Take care of your adorable feline friend and give them the dental care they need as safely as possible.

Now that you know the answer to the question ‘Should I brush my cat’s teeth?’, share this knowledge with other kitty owners.

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