By David P Lee
If you have a cat, then its health and happiness will be very important to you. People spend a lot of money on food, treats, toys and sometimes even clothing for their pets. They also invest in grooming, training and medical care. Another thing that is very important which many people forget about is having healthy teeth. A huge 80% of pets have dental issues after the age of three years because of this oversight. These dental problems can include broken teeth, gum disease, tartar buildup and bad breath. These troubles can lead to the loss of teeth, difficulty in eating and an unhealthy and unhappy cat. If left untreated, dental disease can result in complications. Dental issues can affect the heart, kidneys, intestinal tract and even the joints of your pet. Bacteria builds up in the mouth when your pet has a dental problem and this can cause infection to spread to other parts of the body. Regular preventative dental care can prevent these side effects. There are products on the market that can help with dental issues such as specially formulated foods, toys and even cat toothbrushes and toothpaste. These items are very useful in fighting dental problems. Any cat lover, however, will tell you that cats do not like being made to do anything they do not want to. You must begin slowly and try not to scare the kitty. You need to offer a lot of love and perhaps treats. Although it might well be treats that caused the tooth decay in the first place, a cat will understand that if it lets you clean its mouth, it will get a reward, so it is more likely to hold still while you do what you need to. So the big question is how do you get started in your quest for clean kitty teeth? We all know that cats do not like being forced to do something they are not comfortable with. So you will need to come up with some creative ways to get your cat to accept the new experience. Keeping your cleaning sessions as short as possible, lots of love and praise, and a favorite treat at the end are all good tactics to begin with. After a while your kitty should begin to get use to the program, although they still may not love it! Obviously, brushing your cat’s teeth on a regular basis is easier if you start the routine with a kitten. But, that doesn’t mean that an older cat can’t be introduced to good dental habits. With a cat, the actual act of brushing the teeth isn’t as important as it may seem, rubbing the teeth is actually the preferred method among veterinarians. This rubbing action is effortlessly accomplished either by wrapping your finger with gauze and rubbing it on the teeth or simply by letting the cat chew on the kitty toothbrush. This will knock off most of the plaque and tarter before it can cause problems. After a while your cat should be willing to accept teeth brushing. Here is the way you can go about it. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and apply it to the area where your cat’s teeth and gums meet. Rotate the brush in small circles, overlapping several teeth. Finish with vertical strokes to pull plaque from between the teeth. Repeat until all the teeth on your feline’s cheek side are clean. The inside teeth will be more difficult, as your pet may resist opening its mouth, but eventually you may be able to brush the inside and outside surfaces of all the teeth. For effective cleaning, brush your pet’s teeth a couple of times a week. If your cat does not let you brush its teeth or if you can see brown tartar stains or bleeding gums, you need to take the cat to the vet. They will give the cat a general anesthetic and clean the teeth both above and below the gum line to get rid of tartar and plaque. When the cat’s teeth are clean, the vet will polish them to remove any microscopic pieces of plaque and to make the teeth smooth since this will discourage further plaque from sticking. No doubt, dental care is as important to your pet and his well being as it is to you. Your kitty needs to be cared for so provide it with regular tooth care and cleaning. With a little time and effort on your part, your cat’s teeth will last a lifetime.