According to the Veterinary Centers of America, more than half of all cats over the age of three suffer from gingivitis or periodontal disease, accumulating bacteria, dental plaque, and tarter affecting the teeth and gums. If left untreated, these conditions can lead to painful tooth decay and even tooth loss. And while these dental problems may be surprisingly common for cats, dental care is something that pet owners often overlook.
To keep your cat healthy, it's crucial to keep your cat teeth clean and brush your cat's teeth regularly to prevent tartar and plaque buildup that leads to stinky breath and serious dental diseases. But as one might expect, brushing your cat's teeth won't be the easiest task. Between their stubborn personalities, sharp claws, and speedy reflexes, it can be difficult to clean feline teeth with an old-fashioned feline toothbrush. That's why many cat parents prefer to use dental treats instead of a regular toothbrush.
To help you find the best dental care routine for your cat, we've rounded up the best cat toothbrushes, dental treats, and finger toothbrushes to use on your kitty.
How to brush your cat's teeth?
Like humans, cats teeth require regular brushing to remove plaque, prevent tartar buildup, and kill bacteria that lead to bad breath. It's crucial to use a toothpaste specifically designed for cats, as human toothpaste contains ingredients that can easily irritate your cat's stomach. Plus, pet toothpaste is typically made using enticing flavors like chicken, beef, or seafood for a more enjoyable brushing experience.
To keep your cat's mouth healthy, you should brush your cat's teeth daily or at least three times a week. Ideally, you should start establishing a regular brushing routine while they're still a kitten. Older cats may take longer to become accustomed to daily brushing, but with a lot of praise and a bit of patience, they'll learn to accept tooth brushing.
The key to successfully brushing your cat's teeth is to keep the experience as positive and stress-free as possible. Choose a safe, quiet environment where your cat feels comfortable but can't easily escape. It can be helpful to have a second person hold the cat (and give them plenty of praise and attention) while you brush. Go slow, be gentle around the gum line, and take breaks as needed. Over time, your cat will get used to having its teeth brushed.
Cats' mouths are loaded with bacteria, so many pet parents wear gloves during brushing to prevent bites and scratches. If you choose to forego gloves, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water when you're finished. Additionally, you'll want to rinse off the toothbrush itself before putting it away to remove any lingering food particles and bacteria lingering on the bristles.
To prevent bacteria from spreading, households with multiple cats should use a separate cat toothbrush for each pet. Reusable toothbrushes should be replaced around every three months.
Types of Cat Toothbrush
There are three different styles of pet toothbrushes designed specifically for kitty's teeth:
- Dental chew— While dental treats can't replace brushing altogether, they can help reduce brushing frequency by removing tartar, preventing plaque buildup, and improving the overall health of your cat's teeth and gums.
- Finger brush— A specialty cat toothbrush that fits on your finger can provide greater control and make it easier to quickly brush your cat's teeth. The thimble-like silicone cap slips right over your finger so you can insert it directly into your cat's mouth.
- Handle brush— Handled cat toothbrush is similar to baby toothbrushes in that they're designed with skinny handles, soft bristles, small brush heads, and an ergonomic design that makes it easy to reach every nook and cranny inside your cat's mouth.
Unsure of which type of cat toothbrush to pick? Talk to your veterinarian to determine what is the best toothbrush and dental care plan is for your kitty.
The Best Cat Toothbrushes, Finger Brushes, And Dental Chews
Vet's Best Soft Finger Brushes for Pet Dental Care are a safe, effective, and affordable way to clean your small dog or cat's teeth. The BPA-free brush heads slip right onto your finger so you can reach tight spaces and back teeth with ease. Extra-soft silicone bristles are gentle on pets' gums while they power away plaque and tartar. Paired with pet toothpaste, they'll help keep your kitty's teeth sparkling, their gums clean, and their mouth healthy and disease-free.
FadaStore's Professional Dog and Cat Finger Toothbrushes are made from high-quality materials with an effective design that makes it easy to clean hard-to-reach areas in the back of your pet's mouth. Each set comes with eight silicone finger brushes that slip right onto your fingertip for full control as you gently rub your cat's teeth. The soft bristles and nubby grips remove plaque that leads to periodontal disease and supports a healthy mouth.
While many cat toothbrushes only have bristles on one side, this Jasper 360-Degree Cat Finger Toothbrush is covered with soft silicone bristles on all sides. Their 360-degree design makes it easy to reach each and every tooth up to the gum line without causing irritation. The two-pack of BPA-free silicone brush head is available in three fun color options: clear, blue, pink, or multi-color. Plus, it comes complete with a convenient case for easy storage between teeth cleanings.
Looking for the easiest way to clean your pet's teeth? Try these handy Dental Care Finger Wipes for Cats & Dogs. They're suitable for use on both cats and dogs, making them an excellent choice for households with multiple pets. The disposable wipes slip right over your finger for total control while cleaning sensitive gums and hard-to-reach teeth. Plus, they're made with natural ingredients like thyme oil, grapefruit seed extract, spearmint oil, and green tea extract for super fresh breath.
These Professional Pet Toothpaste Applicator Swabs from Petsmile offer an easy alternative to traditional toothbrushes. Just dip it in the pet toothpaste of your choice and swab away! The long swabs are made from BPA-free plastic with an extra-soft tip that's gentle on sensitive gums. Each pack comes with 50 cleaners that can be used (and rinsed and reused) on dogs and cats of any size.
Emours 36-Degree Pet Toothbrush Dental Care Kit is designed with an ergonomic handle and 360-degree bristles for fast and easy cleaning. With regular use, the cat toothbrush can help keep your cat's teeth clean, keep bad breath at bay, and prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease. In addition to cats, the pint-sized brush can be used on small dog breeds.
Say goodbye to stinky breath with this eco-friendly Woobamboo Dog & Cat Toothbrush. It comes in two sizes options: a larger brush head for medium to large dogs and a small brush head that's the perfect size for cats and smaller breeds of dogs. The sleek handle is made from organic, biodegradable bamboo coated with natural and non-toxic wax. When the recyclable bristles get worn out after a few months of use, simply pull them out to turn the bamboo handle into an entertaining chew toy.
This petite Micro Head Toothbrush for Cats from Mind Up is the perfect size for kittens and small cats. The mini bristles make it easy to reach every nook and cranny inside your cat's mouth. And the head is tilted at a 15-degree angle specifically designed to complement the shape of your cat's mouth. Paired with a pet-safe toothpaste, it's an effective way to remove plaque, tartar, food debris, and bacteria that lead to bad breath and dental diseases.
Dr. Brite Pet Pure Antiplaque pen is the perfect option for cats who struggle with the brush head and toothbrush option. This spray pen is easy to use, and it is filled with ingredients your cat will love. This pen removes plaque gently and safely while offering a delicate parsley flavor.
VetriScience Laboratories' Perio Plus Feline Bites take the hassle out of feline dental care. The tasty treats are specially formulated to keep cats' teeth clean without daily brushing. The crunchy outer layer reduces plaque and tartar buildup, while the soft inner layer supports healthy gums and banishes bad breath. With just seven calories per bite, they won't add unnecessary fat or calories to your cat's diet.
This brand also offers powder form so you can avoid any struggles and sprinkle it on top of their food.
To minimize plaque and prevent bad breath between cleaning sessions, give your cat this Natural Silvervine Catnip Ball from Gochanmon. The enticing chew toy is woven from wild catnip and silvervine that'll keep your cat entertained for hours. Like catnip, silvervine excites your cat's senses and encourages them to be active. Plus, it promotes healthy digestion, good chewing behaviors, and improved oral health while your cat plays. Pet parents can rest easy knowing the all-natural toy is made with simple pet-safe ingredients without additives, preservatives, or anything artificial.
Keep your cat's teeth sparkly clean and their breath smelling fresh with these Tempting Tuna Flavor Feline Dental Treats from Greenies. Your cat will love the tasty tuna flavor, and you'll love their teeth-cleaning, bacteria-killing, and tartar-reducing results. They're made with all-natural ingredients with no artificial flavors, additives, or preservatives. Plus, they contain added vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that support your cat's overall health. Each crunchy treat contains fewer than two calories, making them a great option for both dental health and weight management.