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|Dental Care For Your Cat |
Brushing your cat’s teeth is the single most effective means to curtail dental disease. This makes sense because the bacterial film known as “plaque” is the root of many dental problems. This film is easily displaced by simple mechanical disruption as the teeth are brushed. Daily brushing is required to improve dental health, while brushing every other day will help maintain the dental health in its current state. Brushing of your cat’s teeth can be accomplished with most cats, but you need to take a very gradual and gentle approach. Start by letting your cat lick the toothpaste from your finger, then off the small feline toothbrush, then gradually place the brush in your cat’ mouth and add the brushing motions. Introduction of this process may require 1-2 months. We recommend using toothpaste which has been specifically developed for pets. An example is the CET brand, which is pet safe and come in several flavors for cats such as poultry and seafood. Avoid human toothpastes as they usually contain abrasives and detergents that can be irritating if swallowed. Small cat specific toothbrushes are available. Some cats prefer finger brushes.
ORAL (CHLORHEXIDINE) RINSE:
This rinse provides antibacterial benefits lasting for several hours. It is safe for pets and rarely causes any problems. The rinse is applied by squirting a small amount inside the cheek on each side of the mouth. The chlorhexidine binds to the oral tissues, tooth surfaces, and existing plaque, and is gradually released into the oral cavity. Many cats object to the taste of this product, while others accept it with no difficulty.
OXYFRESH ORAL HYGIENE SOLUTION:
Oxyfresh in the drinking water helps to improve the breath as well as detoxifying certain bacterial products that can interfere with healing of oral tissues. Simply add 1 cap full per quart of water daily. Most cats will accept Oxyfresh in their drinking water.
CHEW TYPE PRODUCTS:
Anything that helps increase chewing can be of benefit. To the surprise of many owners, feeding exclusively dry food is of little benefit.
Several specific diets have been shown to be of benefit in decreasing dental disease. Science Diet T/D and Science Diet Oral Care are both “mesh-type” diets that scrub the teeth with a fibrous mesh as your cat eats. Acceptance of these mesh-type foods is variable. Friskies Dental Diet, and Eukanuba Dental Defense Diet both employ a chemical coating (sodium hexametaphosphate) that safely decreases tartar formation, and is very well accepted by most patients.
The CET Oral Hygiene Chews made specifically for cats contain a dual enzyme system that helps augment natural antibacterial systems present in the mouth. They are available in poultry and seafood flavors, and are accepted by most cats.
Unlike dogs, cats are very individualistic in their acceptance or oral home care. Frequently, trial and error experimentation is required. Try to find those techniques and products that you cat seems to prefer (or is offended by the least). Some cats are very particular about new flavors. Patience and a gentle approach will yield the best results.
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