Most cats are low maintenance, meaning that they eat, lay around, and self-clean regularly. While they may “keep up their appearances,” they cannot take care of their teeth, at least not on their own. Before you start to think something like Brushing my cat’s teeth? That’s a ridiculous, unnecessary, part of a cat’s routine; cats are notorious for bad breath! Why, that’s part of being a cat, here me out.
You brush your teeth every day, right? Well, you should, but that’s another topic for another article. According to an Ipsos Reid Poll, most pet owners (95%) brush their own teeth every day, but only 4% brush their cat’s teeth on a daily basis! Even more alarming, more than 80% of cats have serious tooth and gum problems by the age of three.
Cat teeth brushing is not some new fad. There is plenty of evidence out there supporting how much cats benefit from teeth brushing. Just like in humans, poor oral hygiene in cats is linked to dental disease, discomfort, and well, bad breath. Also, two-thirds of each your cat’s teeth are not visible; they are hidden under his gums, meaning that dental problems can develop before you see any signs.
A good cat toothpaste can prevent plaque and tartar buildup and leave your cat with fresh breath, which is an extra perk. Not sure where to start? Here are our recommendations:
Best Cat Toothpaste
1. Virbac C.E.T Enzymatic Cat Toothpaste
Our top pick, Virbac C.E.T Enzymatic Cat Toothpaste, is widely known as the #1 recommended dental brand for veterinarians and for good reasons. First of all, Virbac has earned its credibility with more than 25 years of quality dental products for pets. The company strives to increase pet dental awareness and offers top-notch products to veterinary practices and pet owners alike.
In addition to the company itself, here what we like about Virbac C.E.T Enzymatic Cat Toothpaste:
- The enzymatic toothpaste is specifically designed for cats (and dogs).
- The formula is safe and effective to stop plaque formation.
- Because there are no foaming agents, this toothpaste can be swallowed safely.
- The five available flavors are tasty for cats (poultry, anyone?)
- Unless you have an ornery cat (like mine), the actual brushing is simple.
- The value for the cost of this toothpaste is fantastic.
- Excellent customer reviews.
- The toothpaste tube contains 3.2 ounces.
One reason why cat owners may be hesitant to brush their cat’s teeth is because, well, cats probably won’t enjoy the process. While this is more than likely true for most cats, Virbac has solved this issue by making delicious tasting toothpaste in five flavors: malt, beef, seafood, poultry, and vanilla mint.
In addition, this toothpaste does not including foaming properties, so all you do is put a little toothpaste on a soft-bristled toothbrush, brush it on your cat’s teeth, and that’s it! No need to try to get your cat to spit it out. (Now, that would be a sight!)
2. Vetoquinal Vet Solutions Enzymatic Poultry-Flavored Cat Toothpaste
In business since 1933, Vetoquinol features a myriad of top-rated pet health care products, including Vetoquinol Enzadent Cat Toothpaste. This cat toothpaste made our list because of its powerful triple-enzyme powered tartar destroying formula. Here are the other reasons why this cat toothpaste is worth checking into:
- It removes plaque from your cat’s teeth easily while polishing them to make them pearly white.
- Toothpaste combats harmful bacteria growth in your cat’s mouth while freshening his breath.
- The non-foaming paste can safely be swallowed.
- The price for the quality is excellent. This is the best value toothpaste from our four recommendations.
- The tube contains 90 grams (3.2 ounces)
- Customers repeatedly report that their results have been amazing, and their cats don’t mind having their teeth brushed. Some even enjoy it!
- Poultry flavor! Need we say more?
The poultry-flavor is a perk; even if your cat is persnickety, she will surely enjoy this tasty flavor. Like the Virbac C.E.T Enzymatic Cat Toothpaste, there is no rinsing needed. Just brush the toothpaste on your cat’s teeth and gums, and let her go. Vetoquinal toothpaste is made grain-free in the United States, and worth checking out for your furry feline!
3. Sentry Petrodex Veterinary Strength Malt Toothpaste Dental Care Kit for Cats
Sentry’s pet care products have been dedicated to the health and well-being of pets since 1868! If you are a beginner cat-teeth-brusher, the Sentry Dental Care Kit is for you. This kit will provide you with the perfect package to start brushing your cat’s teeth. Here’s what we love about this convenient kit:
- It helps reduce tartar, plaque buildup, and fights bad breath.
- The hydrogen peroxide enzymatic formula cleans and whitens your cat’s teeth.
- The non-foaming formula does not need to be rinsed.
- The kit includes a veterinarian-created toothbrush with super soft bristles.
- A finger brush is also included, which is perfect for removing food debris and massaging the gums.
- Cats typically love the malt flavor.
- The three-in-one kit includes a toothbrush, a “finger” toothbrush, and 2.5 ounces of malt-flavored cat toothpaste.
- The toothpaste has an expiration date of three years.
- This kit has earned an “Amazon’s Choice” award.
As mentioned, the Sentry Petrodex dental kit is a perfect “all-in-one” for cat owners who want to start a dental hygiene routine. We appreciate that this product was created by a veterinarian, so you should know it has been tested with stamped approval by the top professionals in pet dental care. Plus, this kit is advertised for a great price!
4. PetzLife Peppermint Oral Care Gel
PetzLife takes a holistic approach to pet health. They offer safe, all-natural products that improve your cat’s overall dental health, including an oral care gel that you don’t need to brush into your cat’s teeth! Yes, please! The PetzLife Peppermint Oral Care Gel is like toothpaste in that it breaks down plaque and tartar, heals gum tissue, and kills bad bacteria, leaving your cat’s teeth and gums healthy and breath smelling fresh, yet without the brushing.
Here’s what PetzLife Peppermint Oral Care Gel has to offer:
- This formula Includes all-natural ingredients, including grape seed extract, thyme, and peppermint oils that detoxify the mouth.
- The gel treats your cat’s tartar buildup, inflamed gums, or bad breath.
- This product heals gum tissue with results in just 30 days.
- No brushing needed with this gel, although regular brushing is still beneficial.
- PetzLife Peppermint Oral Care Gel is made in the USA.
If your cat has noticeable plaque buildup or inflamed gums, this product is what you need to help the healing process. Use your finger to apply the gel to your cat’s teeth and gums. If you are using this product as a preventative, apply it two to three times weekly. For cats under 12 lbs., use 1/8 tsp. For cats over 12 lbs., use 1/4 tsp.
Why Should You Brush Your Cat’s Teeth?
As we mentioned previously, most pet owners don’t even think about the fact that their cats need healthy teeth and gums. Simply put, brushing your cat’s teeth is key to good dental hygiene, which adds their quality of life! If you think I’m being a little dramatic here, keep reading.
Unfortunately, research shows that by the time cats are just four-years-old, between 50% and 90% will have developed dental disease.
Just like human teeth, cat teeth accumulate plaque and tartar. Cats are very prone to gingivitis, which leads to gum inflammation. If this condition is not treated, serious problems can occur, such as periodontal disease. What happens here is that the calculus builds up under the cat’s gums and separates it from the teeth, causing spaces under the teeth, which then build up bacteria.
Periodontal disease is irreversible, and it eventually leads to bone loss, tissue destruction, and gum infection. Here’s how it starts: an inflammation of gums or one tooth. If you can catch this early, you can stop the progression.
Professional cleanings at your veterinarian’s office are a great idea, but daily brushing your cat’s teeth will also greatly reduce the risk of dental disease.
Common Ingredients in Cat’s Toothpaste
When you are looking at a product’s ingredients, the longer the list, the more overwhelming you may feel. Scientific, hard-to-pronounce words make it more daunting, especially when you have no idea what the words mean. Here is a little “cheat sheet” list of ingredients in a good cat toothpaste and also what they mean:
- Silica: an abrasive used to remove debris and stains from teeth
- Di-Calcium Phosphate: a supplement derived from calcium and phosphorous, and its function is to strengthen the teeth.
- Titanium Dioxide: adds white coloring.
- Sorbitol: a sweetener that enhances flavor and adds moisture that is safe for cats
- Glycerin: a humectant that holds water and prevents toothpaste from drying out
- Calcium Carbonate: an abrasive and whitening ingredient proven to remove stains.
- Sodium Benzoate: a preservative used to stop bacteria growth.
- Xanthan Gum: a thickening agent for texture and consistency.
On the other hand, if you see any of these ingredients in cat toothpaste, don’t buy it. While they may seem harmless, you would be taking an unnecessary risk:
- Fluoride: toxic to cats if ingested in large quantities
- Baking Soda: may be harmful if ingested by cats
- Xylitol: a sugar substitute that may be safe for cats, but toxic to dogs.
What is Enzymatic Cat Toothpaste?
The majority of cat toothpaste are enzymatic formulas, which means they create chemical reactions caused by enzymes to create an antibacterial property that removes bacteria. Typically the enzymatic formula is a combination of glucose oxidase and lactoperoxidase, which forms the antibacterial action while you brush your cat’s teeth.
Using enzymatic cat toothpaste is more effective than not because they are designed to fight bacteria, which leads to tartar and plaque, plus they leave your cat’s breath smelling better.
What are Non-Enzymatic “Natural” Cat Toothpastes?
There are a lot of enzymatic alternatives out there labeled as “natural.” Sure, these natural types of toothpaste are worth looking into, but they will be less effective than an enzymatic toothpaste and require more brushing power from you. However, if your cat is laid back and loves having his teeth brushed, you could consider natural alternatives if you wish.
How Do I Brush My Cat’s Teeth?
OK, let’s get to the “how to brush my cat’s teeth,” that you’re eagerly waiting for. It’s not as difficult as it may sound. Here’s what to do:
- Gather your supplies: you will need a special cat toothbrush (don’t use one for humans), and cat toothpaste (don’t use your toothpaste. It may have ingredients that are toxic to cats, plus, I doubt it’s poultry flavored!)
- Find a comfortable place where your cat feels relaxed. My cat’s favorite place is my bed, so I start there. Just make sure it is a place where she does not feel afraid.
- Give your cat a sample of the toothpaste. Just let her lick it off the toothbrush or your finger to introduce her to the taste. Remember, cat toothpaste is generally made with non-foaming agents, so she can and will swallow it.
- Lift her lips to see her teeth and gums. Place a small amount of toothpaste on the brush and gently brush her teeth and gums.
- Brush all the surfaces you can during this time, including her teeth and gums and also the outer sides of her mouth.
- Make sure you brush her upper canines and molars because they are places where plaque and tarter are common.
- If this process is not going well, and your cat is resisting the tooth brushing, try using a piece of gauze covered in toothpaste, wrap it around your finger, and try “brushing” that way.
- Ideally, you should make brushing a routine and aim for daily. I know you may be thinking that’s not realistic, and I understand your resistance. If you cannot brush your cat’s teeth every day, aim for two to three times a week.
Are there Other Ways to Keep My Cat’s Dental Health in Check?
We’ve already stressed the importance of brushing, but what else can you do to support your cat’s dental health? After all, not every dental issue can be solved with toothpaste. Here are some other steps to take to ensure your kitty will have the best smile (do cats smile? Not sure. Let’s pretend they do.)
1. Regular Checkups with your Veterinarian
Checkups are a crucial step when it comes to your cat’s dental care. Going to the vet at least once every six months is ideal for an overall physical is a great schedule. Of course, if your cat already has some dental issues, you will need to take him more often.
2. A Healthy Diet
It goes without saying that the types of food you give your kitty may impact her dental health. Make sure to give her wet “meaty” cat food (cats are carnivores and need meat!) Generally, the best food for cats is unprocessed turkey, beef, or fish. Supplement with dry food too. Avoid sugary foods (cats can’t taste the sweet anyway, so they aren’t missing out.) To help strengthen her teeth, offer her a cat bone to chew on every now and then.
3. Watch for Tarter Buildup
Tartar is the hard and sticky substance that may build up around your cat’s gums and teeth. The sooner you remove it, the better.
4. Antiseptic Gels or Rinses
Consider buying an antiseptic gel or rinse for your cat. (See our fourth recommendation, the PetzLife Peppermint Oral Care Gel). These are relatively easy to use since you don’t have to “brush” them on; you simply apply them to your cat’s teeth and gums. Make sure you get one that tastes good, though.
5. Pay Attention
Simply paying attention to your cat’s oral health is key. If she is suffering from a dental issue, there are key signs to look for. He may show discomfort when eating, for example. He may refuse to eat altogether. Consistent bad breath is also a sign that something is wrong.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Just Use My Toothpaste to Brush My Cat’s Teeth?
While this may be tempting, the answer is no. Here’s why: Your toothpaste contains fluoride. While this substance is great for you and your teeth, it can be harmful to your cat’s overall health. Baking soda, another common ingredient in your toothpaste, is also known to be harmful to cats.
What if My Cat Swallows Cat Toothpaste?
In most cases, nothing will happen, since most cat toothpaste is meant to be swallowed. They should not contain any harmful ingredients. However, if you think your cat may have ingested too much toothpaste, then it’s wise to call your vet and ask about it.
What Flavor of Cat Toothpaste is the Best?
Flavors are a big component of cat toothpaste. Some common flavors include seafood, poultry, and even mint. There’s really no right or wrong answer here; it all comes down to what your cat prefers. You can try a few to test them out and go from there.