Pet owners understandably want their little friends to remain healthy, but far too many people overlook their pet's dental health. If you want your cat to keep most of its teeth, you'll have to lend a helping hand to ensure that your cat's teeth remain sharp, clean, and healthy.

Massage Your Kitten's Gums From an Early Age

Cats are notorious for sometimes just wanting to be left alone. If you want to be able to brush your cat's teeth for it as it grows older, you ideally should start getting them used to this process from an early age. When your cat is still a kitten, gently massage its gums with a finger just to get it used to you putting something in its mouth. If you do this, consider wearing a latex glove or something else that can protect you without bothering the cat just in case it decides to bite down. Use happy-sounding words and positive body language while you massage.

Get the Right Brush

There is a specific toothbrush designed just for cats. This brush is much smaller than the one you have in your bathroom and the bristles are usually extra soft. You can brush your cat's teeth with just warm water, but there is also special "cat toothpaste" you could look into. This will give your cat's teeth some extra cleaning without giving them a substance that could upset their stomach. It's important that you don't ever give them your own toothpaste.

Easy Does It

Your cat is not likely to enjoy having you stick things in its mouth at any age. If you get resistance, don't force the cat to sit there with you for an extended amount of time. Otherwise, they may begin to become hostile anytime you go to pick them up. Instead, gently brush one or two teeth at a time, gradually making your way through the cat's mouth when you can get it to relax and calmly sit with you.

Cat's Need a Regular Checkup Too

You likely go to your own dentist every six months or so but when's the last time you took your cat? A veterinarian is not necessarily the same thing. A cat dentist may have special training that could help detect early signs of gum disease and other dental health problems in cats. They may also have additional best practices you can try at home. Contact a cat dentist for more information.