Brushing teeth - How much makes it worth it

Juniper_Junebug

TCS Member
Thread starter
Alpha Cat
Joined
Oct 21, 2020
Messages
544
Purraise
1,377
Does anyone brush their cat's teeth once a week or less? Does it seem to help?

All the internet recommendations are to do it three times a week at least (if you're gonna do it), and for various reasons, I don't think that's for us. (I've tried before, when Juno was a kitten, even working up to it slowly, but decided it was not the battle I was going to pick, with everything else going, e.g., ear drops, oral meds). One vet even told me early on that if you're not going to do it multiple times a weeks, it's not really going to help much.

If the choice is between doing it never or every so often, does anyone think it's worth it? Granted, I have no cat experience before Juno, but I can't see doing it more than once a week without hurting our bond (like brushing, which she also hates).
 

LTS3

TCS Member
Veteran
Joined
Aug 29, 2014
Messages
19,210
Purraise
19,666
Location
USA
Any kind of home dental care, brushing is best, is better than none at all :) If once a week is all you can do, better than nothing. Of course, daily brushing is best but not all cats will tolerate that.

What toothpaste are you using? Some are tastier than others. CET poultry flavored toothpaste is popular with cats. Instead of a brush, you can try a finger brush or a cotton swab. It's really not brushing like we do with our teeth. It's more like swabbing the toothpaste on the cat's teeth. If you can do a quick brush while you have the brush / cotton swab in the mouth, great but not really necessary.
 

lunasu

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Jul 22, 2022
Messages
24
Purraise
35
Location
NY USA
I brush every other day since kitten is 6 months old. She has no plaque or tarter on her teeth. She got compliments every time checked by vets. This little move will save your cat from some most painful dental diseases when he/she grow older. Definitely start as kitten and make sure you watch some videos on how to start brushing. :wave3:
 

arr

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Oct 20, 2020
Messages
169
Purraise
259
One problem with just brushing once a week is that it’s infrequent enough that they never learn to like it or at least accept it. I started very slow with my cats, just touching their mouths once a day, then kind of rubbing their gums with my finger very briefly, then rubbing a little toothpaste on with my finger, then finally, a finger brush and toothpaste. This was over a 9 month span, most days. From the very beginning, I would give them feline greenies cat treats afterwards. Now two of my cats actually enjoy it and the other one tolerates it enough that I can get a little something done every time. She is used to it enough that our bond is just fine. I usually manage 4-6 days a week.

Now as to if it’s going to make a difference in their dental health, I guess time will tell. It is kind of a hassle to do everyday so I really hope it makes a difference.
 

Cat McCannon

TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Joined
Mar 28, 2021
Messages
610
Purraise
1,329
A good, hassle free way to keep a cat’s teeth clean is to feed them raw chicken gizzards. Belle just had her annual check up and the vet said her teeth and gums look great. Belle is about two and a half years old.
 

Luvyna

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
May 22, 2018
Messages
75
Purraise
112
As mentioned above, any amount of tooth brushing you can do makes a difference. I've heard some vets say that once a week is what's realistic for most people, and it still helps.

Feeding a raw diet helps too, or giving chicken wings or pork heart for treats. You want the cat to do the gnawing motion when chewing raw meaty bones which cleans their teeth.

Also, it's natural for cats to hate getting their teeth brushed at first, but it is definitely possible to acclimate them to the process, especially if the toothpaste tastes good! A cat of any age can learn to tolerate tooth brushing, it might just take longer depending on the cat's age or personality.

If your cat is highly resistant, start with getting her used to having her face, lips, and muzzle touched. When you're having a cuddle or petting session, stroke her along her lips and work your way up to her allowing you to lift her lips slightly, just for a few seconds. You can gradually increase the time you peel her lips back to look at her teeth. It helps to do this when your cat is sleepy or looking for affection from you.

Once she's used to that, you can get her used to you gently sticking a finger into her mouth, and then using your finger to rub her teeth gently. Once she tolerates that, you can add cat toothpaste to your finger. Then move up to using one of those finger toothbrushes, and then a regular toothbrush if that's what you prefer (staying with a finger toothbrush is fine too). It might take a few months to get there, but it is definitely worth it for your cat's dental health and the dental bills you will save in the long run.
 

Alldara

TCS Member
Super Cat
Joined
Apr 29, 2022
Messages
1,034
Purraise
1,381
Juniper_Junebug Juniper_Junebug I brush our cat's teeth 1-2 times daily.

Toothpaste flavor is key. Cal will do beef. Magnus and Nobel do malt. Provide tuna and they are quite sure you are trying to murder and poison them.

Nobel is a crocodile. I do have this tooth gel: Fresh Breath Clean Teeth Oral Care Gel for Cats
It helped get a ton of built up tartar off before his (first) dental at 14. I hadn't known until he was 8 or 9 that I could clean his teeth.

With Magnus and Cal I would rub their teeth a lot, just touching their fangs with my finger or with a q-tip (cardboard one not plastic for environmental concerns). Then we worked up to a baby toothbrush. Magnus is 2 and he still dislikes the brush but the q-tip is fine.


It is very very worth it and will save a ton of money in dental. Even if you just choose the gel or get some enzymatic toothpaste in their once or twice per week.

Make sure you are 'trying' at the right time. Cat should be tired, perhaps even sleeping. Be quiet, soft and gentle and consider letting them play a bit with the brush, and providing a dental treat afterward or during while they get used to it.
 

Alldara

TCS Member
Super Cat
Joined
Apr 29, 2022
Messages
1,034
Purraise
1,381
Oh I forgot to say yesterday, silvervine sticks if your cat's will chew them is sooo helpful. It's been really helping with Magnus's gingivitis (the reason we must brush daily).
 
Top