Dental disease

A combination of feeding soft diets and perceived difficulties with administering dental hygiene are the most common causes of dental disease. Your cat has had a dental procedure carried out under general anaesthetic. Here is some advice on how to help prevent the problem recurring in order to avoid further dental procedures for your cat and costs for you.

Prevention is better than cure.

Brushing Brushing your cat’s teeth is without doubt the most effective way of preventing tartar build-up and painful dental disease in your pet. It normally takes 5-6 weeks to get a cat used to brushing – this is done gradually. Start off by buying some toothpaste for cats, CET for example and for one week, allow your cat to come to you and lick the paste off your finger. Sometimes mixing a small amount of tuna with the paste will encourage your cat to lick the paste off. Eventually he or she will lick off the paste without the tuna mixed in. Once your cat is used to this, try gently rubbing the paste around its gums while they are licking off the paste. Once your cat allows you to do this, continue to do it for a week to 10 days. Then place some paste on a cat toothbrush and allow your cat to lick the paste off. They may be suspicious of the new item at first. If they just walk away, be patient and wait until the next day. After a few days they will lick the paste from the brush. Allow them to do this for about a week. Then attempt putting the brush in their mouths while then are licking off the paste. After another week, your cat should be coming to you to remind you that it is time for brushing! Remember: encouraging your cat to accept brushing is a slow process; do not rush it!


Animal toothpaste is not mint flavoured as they usually dislike this, nor does it contain foaming agents or fluoride like human toothpaste. We consider this to be the best brand of toothpaste for animals. CET is available in fish and poultry flavours. Most animals take to it very quickly, even if they have never had their teeth brushed before. There are a small percentage of cats that will reject brushing out of hand. They may require dental procedures every 2-3 years, some cats more frequently, to keep their mouths healthy and pain free.


Most importantly we would recommend exclusive feeding of a well balanced, premium quality, fixed formula dry complete diets to prevent reformation of tartar, for example Royal Canin-Walthams®, Hills Science Plan®, Purina Pro Plan®, IAMS-Eukanuba® – available from your veterinary surgery and/or good pet shops. Choose the diet suitable for the age and body condition of your pet. Weaning onto these diets should ideally be started tonight as plaque deposition will have started as soon as the dental procedure finished today. (Estimated cost of feeding IAMS Light® to a 5kg cat is 53c per day).

Other control measures

There are other oral care products available which, whilst not a substitute for brushing, will certainly help reduce tartar and gingivitis problems. Below is a list of our most popular products and how they work:


This diet is specially designed to break tartar and plaque off the teeth. It helps to keep tartar off the teeth for longer than normal food. This dry diet will allow less tartar build up than the dry diets mentioned above and can be fed exclusively or even lifelong if necessary. (Estimated cost of feeding Hills t/d to a 5kg cat is 81c per day).


May be useful if your pet will not tolerate brushing, but it should be used in conjunction with the diets mentioned above. Applied daily to either side of the mouth on to the outside of the upper back molars and gums, it helps improve oral hygiene with or without brushing.