Do Cats Need to Brush Their Teeth?

do cats need to brush teeth

Is it necessary to brush or clean your feline’s teeth? Yes, cats need their teeth brushed. It’s part of your responsibility as a cat owner.

Wild cats have a natural way of cleaning their cat teeth using grass or bones. However, domestic tabbies would need a little help from their favorite humans.

Why Is It Important to Brush Your Cat’s Teeth?

Creating a good cat dental care routine can make all the difference in your cat's health. You must make your feline's oral health care a priority, else your cat may experience days of pain. Teeth cleaning is crucial because it allows you to develop a preventive routine rather than a reactive one.

Not only will this routine ensure that your tabby's teeth are clean, but it also prevents common teeth diseases like gingivitis in cats from developing. Regular brushing also keeps your cat’s breath smelling fresh.

You have to understand that periodontal disease in cats doesn't happen overnight. It is a product of accumulated bacteria, plaque, and debris from their meals. This is a gradual but escalating situation. If not addressed promptly, it can lead to severe tartar that is almost irreversible. 

If your cat requires extractions, they will be much happier and eat more comfortably after infected, painful teeth are removed.

💡 Did you know a toothless cat is okay? Cats are not like dogs in that they do not chew their food. Cats' teeth evolved to tear bite-sized pieces from their prey during hunting. Because cat food, whether wet or dry, is already in bite-sized pieces, they simply use their teeth to get it into their mouth and then swallow it whole.

How to Keep Your Cat’s Teeth Clean

The best way to keep your tabby’s teeth clean is regular tooth brushing. It should be done daily, but you can do it a minimum of twice a week.

Start them young. Adult cats will be resistant to having something foreign inside their mouth, even if it improves their dental hygiene. As early as the kitten teething stage, you should introduce cat teeth cleaning so you and your pet will get used to it.

It is up to you to help your cat accept this activity. If your cat is still a kitten, brushing their teeth using a finger cot or a gauze with cat toothpaste should do the trick.

For a grown-up cat, you have to invest in the right dental tools, including a cat toothbrush and fluoride-free toothpaste. Choose a chicken or beef flavor to entice your pet. Understand that your cat won't spit the toothpaste as you would, so their toothpaste should be safe for ingestion.

💙 Personally, we prefer enzyme toothpaste, a gel formula designed to keep our cat gums and teeth healthy and prevent bad breath by reducing plaque without the need for brushing. The enzyme complex adheres to the teeth and gums, removing components that allow the existing dental plaque to form.

enzyme cat toothpaste

As an option, you can also use sterile gauze strips to clean your cat's teeth. Just make sure that you gently cradle your tabby from behind so they feel safe and supported as you tilt their head back. Carefully lift their chin so you can open their mouth and brush their teeth.

What Else Do I Check Besides Teeth?

Check your cat's gums and teeth regularly. See if teeth are white, clean, and free from chipping. Since you have access to your cat's mouth already, you might as well ensure that the other areas of the mouth do not have any issues.

Examine your cat's gums for any lesions or sores. The gums should be a healthy shade of pink with no specific redness or swelling. And at the back of your cat's mouth, there shouldn't be any lesions, bumps, ulcers, or nodes.

Since you are this close to your cat, have a good whiff of cat breath too. It should not be foul. Else, your feline might be nursing an infection somewhere.

If you see any signs or things that shouldn’t be there, give your vet a call ASAP. 


Home dental care, if done consistently, should give you peace of mind. Unlike us, cats can't verbalize when they have tooth pain and gum infections. All you get is a lot of howling and yelping from a miserable cat. Cats need to brush their teeth to keep them happy and healthy. 


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