Can You Use Ordinary Toothpaste On Cats? The Surprising Answer

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You cannot use ordinary toothpaste on cats. It’s full of fluorine, which can cause serious harm to your feline if ingested. Similarly, we can’t risk dental floss because, when swallowed, this can present a choking hazard or cause damage to the gastrointestinal system. But, dental care is significant for cats, so we turn to the cat-friendly alternatives instead.


Keep reading to discover why ordinary toothpaste is a definite no for your cat and what the best alternatives are. We’ll give you some tips on keeping your feline’s mouth healthy and disease-free.


How Do I Keep My Cat’s Teeth Clean?


To keep your cat’s teeth clean, you should ideally brush them every day. This may not always be possible, but you’ll want to aim for a minimum of twice per week. An adult cat will put up far more resistance to having its teeth cleaned than a kitten, so it’s essential to get them used to this process from a young age.


How Do I Brush My Cat’s Teeth?


You can brush your cat’s teeth with a rubber toothbrush or a cat-specific finger brush. Hold your cat so they feel comforted (it may be easier to do this with another person so that one of you can give comfort and fuss while the other focuses on brushing).


Next, gently tilt back their head and lift the chin to open their mouth. Gently brush each tooth in a circular motion to remove lingering debris and plaque. Keep it soft but firm, as brushing too hard can cause gum soreness.


Can I Use Ordinary Toothpaste On My Cat?


Never use human toothpaste on your cat. It contains significant fluoride levels, which can cause serious harm to your feline if they ingest it. 


In addition, avoid using dental floss as this can be easily ingested by a feline and cause choking or gastrointestinal issues. At the end of the day, if the product is designed for a human, it’s probably not suitable for your cat – especially when it comes to things that you’re going to put into their mouths.


Stick to the cat-friendly alternatives and keep your feline safe from hazards.


Which Toothpaste Should I Use To Clean My Cat’s Teeth?


You should never use any human form of toothpaste to clean your cat’s teeth. Instead, look for the cat-specific varieties, often flavored with meat or tuna, to make teeth cleaning a little more enjoyable for your cat.


Why Is Dental Care Important For Cats?


In the wild, cats clean their teeth naturally as they chew on bones and grass, but there is often no suitable alternative in a domestic environment.


Cats can’t talk to us and tell us that they’re feeling unwell, plus they usually hide if they feel a sense of pain or discomfort. For these reasons, it’s much better to engage in preventative rather than reactive treatments, which address an issue before it becomes a problem.


Why Do Cats Develop Dental Disease?


85% of cats develop a form of the dental disease because their gums and teeth experience gradual destruction over time, which we don’t notice or address. 


When cats eat, they get bacteria, debris, and a plaque outside of their teeth. This debris comes from the food they eat, and over time it hardens to form tartar. And it is this dental calculus that irritates your cat’s gums leading to gingivitis and ultimately tooth loss.


This buildup of tartar is a breeding ground for bacteria, allowing germs to stick to and build upon the gums. This leads to pain and inflammation in your cat’s mouth, making it difficult for them to eat and drink.


In addition, the bacteria can find its way into your cat’s bloodstream leading to kidney damage and problems with other vital organs.


The most common dental disease for cats is periodontal disease, which means they experience progressive destruction of the gums and teeth. This happens over an extended period; it is highly preventable if you address the early symptoms.


How Can I Check The Dental Health Of My Cat?


Checking inside your cat’s mouth isn’t the easiest procedure, but it is necessary. If you don’t feel that you can safely inspect your cat’s dental health, it’s vital to refer to your local vet, who will be able to assist.


The signs of healthy teeth and gums include:

  • Clean, white teeth that are free from any chips or cracks.
  • Pink, healthy-looking gums free from sores, lesions, redness, or swelling.


However, if you notice any of the following symptoms, they could be early warning signs of dental disease:

  • Chipped or cracked teeth.
  • Sores, lesions, redness, or swelling around the gums.
  • Bleeding from the gums.
  • Ulcers, lesions, or swelling at the back of their mouth.
  • Any foreign objects such as a bit of string.
  • Bad breath or a change in the odor of their breath.


Accompanying signals that may point to the dental disease include drooling, face pawing, difficulty swallowing, or changing their eating habits.


Keeping an eye out for these early signs can help prevent anything more sinister from developing in your cat.


What Do I Do If My Cat Refuses To Let Me Brush Its Teeth?


If your cat point-blank refuses to let you brush their teeth, there are a couple of alternative solutions that you can turn to. Some treats are specially designed to help remove plaque from their teeth and prevent tartar buildup.


The added benefit is that these treats often come with a decent nutrition boost. And you can buy dental sprays from your vet to help minimize the bacteria, plaque, and tartar in your feline’s mouth.


If all else fails, book your cat in with your vet. It’s not important who cleans your cat’s teeth as long as they clean them regularly. This will help prevent periodontal disease and all of the associated health risks.


Final Thoughts.


Dental health is just as important for cats as humans, so we need to ensure regular tooth brushing for our furry friends just as we do for ourselves. 


No matter what circumstance you find yourself in, never use human toothpaste on your feline, as this can do more harm than good. Instead, use the products formulated for cats and allow them to maintain good oral health in your cat.


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