by Soojin Um
Staff Writer

It’s National Pet Dental Health Month. Are you prepared? Well, we don’t mean to nag, but you should be because dental care is highly important. Often, as cat parents, we tend to overlook this part of their overall health. However, we shouldn’t, because dental health is something affects us and our cats every day. It could even save their life. Here are three things we should be doing to keep our cat’s teeth and gums healthy and clean. Because dogs aren’t the only pets that give us licks and kisses.

Brush their teeth
Brushing your cat’s teeth might sound a little odd at first, but it’s something that veterinarians recommend all cat parents do on a regular basis. Now, wait a minute… Tigers in the wild don’t brush their teeth, and we don’t hear about tooth decay and gum disease. What gives? Well, wolves don’t eat cooked meals and other preprocessed foods. Prey animals not only provide nutrition but also dental “cleaning” as well. The meat of prey is less acidic, and there are no chemicals or additives that can erode the enamel in teeth. Since our cats are deprived of nature’s dental care, we need to provide that ourselves.
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Dental treats and toys
Another thing that can help, especially if you need time for your cat to get used to the brushing, is giving them treats or toys that are specially designed to help clean their teeth. Dental specific chew toys are designed for your cat to spend hours happily gnawing away. This chewing action helps dislodge plaque and act like a floss. Treats can help to in much the same way. Dental cat treats can also help clean teeth and remove plaque. It is important to note, however, that dental specific treats and toys should be used in addition to regular cleaning and vet visits, not as the sole method of dental care.
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Visit the vet dentist
Brushing, cleaning, and giving your cat chew toys are important for your cat’s teeth, but there is one other thing you should do that’s the most beneficial for their dental care, and that’s taking your cat to the veterinarian for a checkup and cleaning. If you can find a vet that specializes in dental health, even better. Just like for the rest of us, going to the dentist may not be pleasant, but it’s imperative we do so on a regular basis. Your cat will benefit, just as we do, with regular visits and checkups.
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Dental health care for cats shouldn’t be seen as a chore or something to put off. If they don’t exhibit any problems, well, that’s the perfect time to start. Why? Because prevention and maintenance is the best (and easiest, and cheapest) way to a healthy mouth. Certainly, don’t wait for a problem to arise. It will hurt your wallet, and it will hurt your cat as well. So, be diligent, and don’t skimp on this all-important health practice. Trust us, your cat will thank you for it.

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