One of the first things you do every day is brush your teeth. Oral hygiene is important and it’s become engrained in your daily routine. You don’t see your cat reaching for his toothbrush after he wakes up for a nap, but maybe you should consider doing it for him.
Dental hygiene is just as important for cats as it is for people and neglecting or cat’s oral health could have serious consequences. Most cats and dogs display some evidence of periodontal disease by the time they are 3 years old, but it can easily be avoided with daily brushing. Brushing your cat’s teeth may not be the easiest task but starting when your cat is young will help your cat get used to it and it will protect his dental health throughout his life.
In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of cat dental care and talk about the best methods for brushing your cat’s teeth. You’ll also see our top picks for the best feline toothpaste and cat toothbrush.
What Is The Best Cat Toothpaste and Toothbrushes?
- Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Dog & Cat Poultry Flavor
- Vetoquinol Enzadent Dual-Ended Toothbrush
- Vetoquinol Vet Solutions Enzadent Enzymatic
- Sentry Petrodex Veterinary Strength Malt Toothpaste
- Oratene Brushless Enzymatic Oral Care Therapy
- Virbac C.E.T. Pet Toothbrush
- H&H Pets Small Dog & Cat Toothbrush Set
- Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Cat Dental Kit
- Oxyfresh Soothing Dog & Cat Gel
- Pet Republique Dog & Cat Dual-Head Toothbrush
The Importance of Cat Dental Care
You probably don’t pay a lot of attention to your cat’s teeth unless he’s chomping down on your hand. If you were to take a closer look, however, you would probably find the early signs of gum disease. Periodontal disease starts with gingivitis – inflammation in the gums that comes from the accumulation of plaque along the gumline. If it isn’t removed, it will thicken and mineralize into tartar which can lead to painful and destructive consequences.
Here are some of the signs of dental disease in cats:
- Bad breath
- Discolored teeth
- Loose or broken teeth
- Red, inflamed gums
- Drooling or discharge
- Swelling in the face
- Pain when eating
- Loss of interest in toys
Dental problems in cats may seem minor – a little bad breath, some tooth discoloration – but they can become quite severe when left untreated. Plaque forms on the surfaces of the teeth and then hardens into tartar. If it spreads below the gumline, it sets the stage for infection. That infection can spread into the tissues and bones in the jaw, causing serious damage that may result in bone loss.
Tips for Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth
Cats tend to be a little more finicky about being handled than dogs, so you’ll need to work up to brushing your cat’s teeth slowly. It’s best to start when your kitten is still young and get him acclimated by touching his teeth first with a cotton swab (try dipping it in the water drained from a tuna can). Eventually, you’ll be able to transition into using a cat toothbrush and, over time, you’ll move from brushing one or two teeth at a time to brushing all of them.
Here are some tips for brushing your cat’s teeth:
- Place your cat on your lap or somewhere he’ll feel comfortable – spend a minute or two petting him and giving him treats to calm him down.
- Start carefully touching and manipulating your cat’s mouth, rewarding him when he allows you to do it – start using the toothbrush to do it when your cat is ready.
- Put a little toothpaste on the toothbrush and let your cat sniff it and lick a little if he wants to.
- Carefully place your cat’s head at a 45-degree angle and gently pull back his lips.
- Gently brush the largest teeth, focusing on the outer surfaces and around the gumline – you don’t need to worry about brushing the insides or the tips.
- Brush as many teeth as your cat will let you and don’t forget the big teeth in the back of his mouth – you may not be able to brush them all at once when you first try.
- Be sure to give your cat plenty of treats and pets once you’re finished.
Now that you know why it’s important to brush your cat’s teeth and how to do it, you’re ready to start shopping for the right tools. You’ll need a cat toothbrush and the best cat toothpaste you can find. Fortunately, there are many options. Read on to see our top picks.
The Best Cat Toothpaste and Toothbrushes
When shopping for a cat toothbrush, there are several things to look for. You want a small brush that fits comfortably in your hand and in your cat’s mouth. An angled handle is best so you can hold it easily and access your cat’s teeth. If you’re just getting started, a finger brush works well.
As for the best cat toothpaste, there are a variety of options out there. Starting with a brushless toothpaste isn’t a bad idea – just make sure you’re only using natural toothpaste for cats. Human toothpaste is not recommended, and you shouldn’t use alternatives like baking soda.
Here are our top picks for the best toothbrushes and toothpaste for cats:
|Our 2020 Picks: Best Toothbrushes and Toothpaste for Cats|
|Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Dog & Cat
|Vetoquinol Enzadent Dual-Ended Toothbrush
|Vetoquinol Vet Solutions Enzadent Enzymatic
|Sentry Petrodex Veterinary Strength Malt
|Oratene Brushless Enzymatic Oral Care
|Virbac C.E.T. Pet Toothbrush
|H&H Pets Small Dog & Cat Toothbrush Set
|Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Cat Dental Kit
|Oxyfresh Soothing Dog & Cat Gel
|Pet Republique Dog & Cat Dual-Head Toothbrush
Easily the #1 veterinary recommended best feline toothpaste, this Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Dog & Cat Poultry Flavor Toothpaste is a great option. This formula is specially designed with no foaming agents and it is meant to be swallowed. It is an enzymatic recipe that inhibits the formation of plaque, helping keep your cat’s teeth clean and healthy. This toothpaste comes in several other flavors as well.
Pros: Enzymatic formula inhibits plaque formation, no foaming agents, safe to swallow
Cons: Some cats dislike the flavor
A cat toothbrush doesn’t have to be anything fancy. This Vetoquinol Enzadent Dual-Ended Toothbrush for Cats & Dogs is a great option because it is affordably priced under $5 and it is dual-ended – use the larger size for the front teeth and reach the back of your cat’s mouth with the smaller end. This toothbrush is designed to be ergonomically correct, making your task easier, and the bristles are nice and soft to keep your cat comfortable.
Pros: Dual-ended design, ergonomically correct for comfort, soft bristles for comfort
Cons: Large head may be too big for some cats, bristles may fall out over time
Get everything you need for cat dental care in one stop with this Vetoquinal Vet Solutions Enzadent Enzymatic Poultry-Flavored Toothbrush Kit. Not only does it include the Enzadent dual-ended cat toothbrush, but it also contains a tube of enzymatic toothpaste for cats. This toothpaste is non-foaming and poultry-flavored so your cat will love it. This kit also comes with a finger brush in case your cat isn’t used to the traditional brush yet.
Pros: Enzymatic poultry-flavored toothpaste, comes with finger brush and dual-ended toothbrush
Cons: Some found the brush too large, some cats didn’t like the flavor
Your cat’s dental health is important and this kit makes it easy to maintain. This Sentry Petrodex Veterinary Strength Malt Toothpaste Dental Care Kit features a finger brush to gently remove plaque and food debris while massaging the gums – a perfect option for kittens and cats who aren’t used to having their teeth brushed. It also comes with a traditional cat toothbrush and a tube of enzymatic toothpaste. This cat toothpaste features a hydrogen peroxide-producing enzymatic formula that cleans the teeth, freshens breath, and reduced plaque and tartar buildup.
Pros: Comes with finger brush for kittens, enzymatic toothpaste to reduce plaque and tartar
Cons: Some cats dislike the flavor and smell, finger brush may be too large for some cats
Some cats simply won’t tolerate having their teeth brushed which makes dental gel a good alternative. This Oratene Brushless Enzymatic Oral Care Therapy Gel for Cats is a brushless toothpaste for cats designed to protect against plaque, bad breath, and periodontal disease. It features a natural, multi-complex enzyme system that dissolves plaque biofilm and inhibits odor-causing bacteria.
Pros: Brushless formula for convenience, multi-complex enzyme system dissolves plaque biofilm
Cons: May be tricky to apply, may not be as effective as brushing
If you’re simply looking for a decent cat toothbrush, this Virbac C.E.T. Pet Toothbrush is an affordable option. It comes in various colors and has a small head with a reverse angle which makes it easy to use. The bristles are soft to ensure your cat’s comfort as well. Whether you need a small toothbrush to fit your cat’s mouth or you just need a tool to start getting him used to brushing, this is a good pick.
Pros: Affordable and simple to use, soft bristles for comfort, reverse angle head
Cons: Some found the brush too small
Having the right tools on hand is essential if you’re going to keep your cat’s teeth clean. This H&H Pets Small Dog & Cat Toothbrush Set is a great option because it comes with 4 or 8 perfectly sized cat toothbrushes at a reasonable price. These brushes feature a small brush head with soft bristles, making it easy to reach your cat’s front or back teeth.
Pros: Comes in a 4 or 8 pack, soft bristles and small brush head, affordable price
Cons: Brush head isn’t angled for convenience
If you’re looking for a complete dental kit to brush your cat’s teeth, consider this Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Cat Dental Kit. This kit comes with pet toothpaste, a cat toothbrush, and a finger brush so you have everything you need to get started. The toothpaste is designed to reduce plaque and target odor-causing bacterial while the brush features a small, angled head for easy and comfortable use.
Pros: Comes with everything you need, angled brush head, ultra clean tartar control formula
Cons: Finger brush may be too large for some cats, toothpaste may be a little thick
Another option for cats who don’t like to have their teeth brushed is this Oxyfresh Soothing Dog & Cat Gel. This soothing gel cleans the teeth, soothes the gums, and freshens the breath. It features proprietary Oxygene to clean and deodorize, fighting gum disease while freshening breath. The non-toxic formula has no taste or odor so your cat won’t mind it and it is safe to swallow.
Pros: Brushless toothpaste for cats, soothes gums and fights plaque, odorless and tasteless
Cons: Some cats disliked the feel of it
Affordably priced and available in a 3 or 6 pack, this Pet Republique Dog & Cat Dual-Head Toothbrush is a great option for cats. This toothbrush features an 8.5-inch angled handle that makes it easy to reach the back of your cat’s mouth and the small brush head is ideal for deep cleaning. The bristles are medium-textured to remove plaque without harming your cat’s sensitive gums.
Pros: Dual-ended brush set, medium-textured bristles, angled head for easy reach
Cons: Some found the bristles too rough
Frequently Asked Questions
- How often should I brush my cat’s teeth? Daily dental care is important to keep your cat’s teeth and gums healthy. Ideally, you should brush his teeth after every meal but generally once a day is sufficient. If you’re just getting started, you may only be able to brush a few teeth at a time which means you may need to do it several times a day. Just follow your cat’s cues and don’t put him through more than he can handle. It may take a couple weeks to get him used to having his teeth brushed regularly.
- How much does a professional dental cleaning for cats cost? Brushing your cat’s teeth certainly isn’t an easy task, so you may be wondering if it’s a viable alternative to simply have it done professionally once a year. This is certainly an option and many veterinarians recommend an annual dental cleaning. If your cat’s teeth are in decent health and you keep up with annual cleanings, you can expect it to cost $400 to $500. More extensive cleanings and additional procedures like tooth removal can cost a great deal more. Whether you have your cat’s teeth professionally cleaned or not, daily brushing at home is still the best option.
- Can I use human toothpaste on my cat? No, it’s extremely dangerous to use human toothpaste on cats because it contains ingredients like fluoride that can be very harmful. When you brush your own teeth, you spit out the toothpaste and rinse – your cat can’t do that. It’s best to use natural toothpaste for cats.
- Can I use a human toothbrush on my cat? If you don’t have a cat toothbrush, you might be able to use a human toothbrush. Just make sure it is unused and has soft bristles. You may find it challenging to use a brush that isn’t intended for cats, but it may not be a problem in a pinch.
- How do I keep my cat’s teeth clean without brushing? Many cats simply don’t like having their teeth brushed and there is a decent alternative to use while you’re getting your cat acclimated – dental gel. Also known as brushless toothpaste for cats, dental gel can be applied directly to the teeth and it provides some benefit. It contains enzymes that kill the germs responsible for tartar buildup, gum disease, and dental decay. It’s not as effective as brushing your cat’s teeth on a daily basis, but it’s certainly better than nothing.
Your job as a cat owner is to take care of your cat from head to tail. In addition to providing him with a healthy diet that meets his nutritional needs, you also need to take care of his body – that includes his teeth. Cat dental care is just another part of being a cat owner.
If you’re not sure how to get started with brushing your cat’s teeth, follow the tips provided above. Check out our recommendations for the best cat toothpaste and cat toothbrush and give one a try!