Skip to main content

10 cat teeth cleaning tips

Use CareCredit for veterinary procedures financing

See how to boost health by brushing kitty’s teeth

Our little predators have chompers with big purpose. Cats’ mouths are designed to serve their hunting and chewing needs.

Once we domesticated them, however, they lost the chance to clean their teeth by gnashing gristle and other items. Without this opportunity, we pet parents need to step in. Clean teeth are necessary to fight gingivitis and stomatitis.

Let’s help a kitty out – it's never too late to start! Here’s how to keep your indoor cat’s teeth healthy with regular care.

1. Prepare for brushing battle
Shop for a pet toothbrush, finger brush or a kid’s toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles. Even a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger or a cotton swab will work. Any of these tools can get slippery tartar off teeth before it hardens to plaque. Get your cat her own toothpaste, too.

2. Make your cat comfortable
Start off on the right tooth and ease your cat into the process. Place your cat on a table and touch your cat’s mouth, lips and gums with your fingers.

3. Comfort with terrycloth
If your cat resists the table setup, move on to wrapping your cat in a towel and place your cat in your lap. Try touching your cat’s mouth again and experiment with different handling methods to find your cat’s favorite.

4. Taste the toothpaste
Squeeze cat toothpaste on the appropriate toothbrush or your gauze-wrapped finger. Let kitty smell and taste the toothpaste, even chew the brush or other surface.

5. Maintain a holding pattern
With your non-dominant hand, hold your cat’s head and ears. Then, pull back her lips with your fingers.

6. Solicit a smile
With your other hand, brush a few teeth with a gentle back and forth motion.

7. Try bribery
If your cat pushes back on the brush or other device, dip it in tuna juice or canned food gravy to motivate your cat to open her mouth and grow comfortable with the process.

8. Progress slowly
Progress gradually to other teeth, going slowly. Never force tooth brushing on your cat. Stop the process if your cat tries to writhe out of your hands or seems agitated.

9. Treat
Treat and praise after each session. Connect happy times with tooth brushing!

10. Repeat
Continue on a regular basis. Experts say working up to a full-mouth brushing comfort level could take weeks or even months. Keep on offering praise and treats and your cat could be a clean teeth fan in no time.

"10 Clean Cat Teeth Tips " is provided by with permission from I-5 Publishing, LLC publishers of Dog Fancy and Cat Fancy publications. For the latest cat news, photos, entertainment and tips, check out

All statements and opinions in "10 Clean Cat Teeth Tips" are the sole opinions of the I-5 Publishing and not those of CareCredit. The content is subject to change without notice and offered for informational use only. You are urged to consult with your individual medical provider with respect to any professional advice presented. Your participation in the presentation constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions.

Use CareCredit for veterinary procedures financing

close this window

back to top