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How to keep your cat’s teeth clean without brushing

Dental care for cats is an essential part of their health because oral problems go far beyond bad breath, which can be annoying if your cat is the type that sticks to your face looking for attention. A cat with poor oral hygiene can suffer tooth loss, bone weakening, and even damage to vital organs such as the kidney and liver. If you want to learn how to keep your cat’s teeth clean without brushing them (because it can be a nightmare), or if you have already tried and your cat flat-out refuses, don’t worry.

Fortunately, there are other less invasive solutions you can try. I am sure I can spare you unnecessary bites and scratches. After all, not every kitty has to put up with an annoying toothbrush.

Why is it important to clean my cat’s teeth?

As independent as cats are, from time to time, they need our help, for example, to get food and also to clean their teeth. In the wild, of course, a cat could do all this alone, but if we are talking about domestic cats that don’t have the opportunity to hunt and satisfy their needs, they need us.

how to keep your cat's teeth clean without brushing - why it's important

It is important to brush your teeth to keep them clean and free of tartar and bacteria that could cause serious long-term problems:

  • Excessive tartar, which is an accumulation of bacterial plaque impregnated with minerals
  • Dental resorption
  • Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)
  • Periodontal disease
  • Pulp disease
  • Tooth loss
  • Weakening of the jawbone and bone fracture
  • Infections due to bacteria entering the bloodstream

How to keep your cat’s teeth clean without brushing them: 5 alternatives

Although the best option to keep teeth clean and healthy will always be constant and adequate brushing, we understand that this is often impossible.

Cats are not very tolerant of manipulation, and some are even less tolerant than others, who will not allow us to introduce a toothbrush in their mouths for anything in the world. If your cat is one of these rebels, several alternatives will work wonders for you.

1. Cat dental gel

After brushing with toothpaste, the best alternative is using special feline dental gel, which is for daily use and should be applied manually to each cat’s teeth. This option doesn’t save you from putting your fingers in your little panther’s mouth, but it will be much more tolerable than brushing. That’s why I recommend that since your cat is small, you get him used to having his teeth touched. It will be much easier for you in the future.

how to keep your cat's teeth clean without brushing - dental gel

The dental gel contains enzymes that eliminate the bacteria that cause tartar, so you can prevent it from building up and weakening your cat’s teeth and infecting his gums. It’s perfect for daily cleaning, and you can complement it with an annual professional cleaning and any other options on this list.

2. Kibbles for dental care

Have you noticed that nowadays you can find any product of everyday use made especially for cats? The market adapts to our needs and those of our pets, which is why there are specific cat foods that favor dental care today.

And if you’re wondering how they work, it’s effortless. Its ingredients, besides having the vitamins and minerals that the cat requires, also act as an abrasive agent that helps to detach the tartar little by little. Also, due to the large size of the kibble, the cat must gnaw and chew more than usual, thus mechanically reducing the accumulation of tartar and dental plaque. It is as if rubbing the kibble against the tooth and scraping all the tartar adhered to it.

It would be best always to ensure that any feline-specific dental care product you buy is approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). This way, you can avoid putting your cat’s health at risk by feeding it products of dubious quality.

3. Special treats

The truth is that I had always wondered if the treats that promise to help cats’ dental health work, and to my surprise, I discovered that they do. The trick is similar to kibble. They are snacks designed for your cat to chew on for a long time, rubbing them against his teeth, thus promoting the removal of dental plaque and food debris.

The good news is that there are many VOHC-approved options that, besides being nutritious, clean their teeth and taste great because they love them.

4. Toys aimed at dental care

In the wild, all cats hunt, and when they eat, they don’t waste anything because besides eating the meat of their prey, they also eat or at least gnaw on the bones and sometimes the feathers or fur of their unfortunate victim. This means that feral cats can go their entire lives without brushing their teeth since a bird’s feathers can act as a brush, and gnawing on bones serves the same function as chewing on a dental snack.

how to keep your cat's teeth clean without brushing - toys

Dental chew toys work under the same logic since they are designed for the cat to bite, taking advantage of this abrasive action to loosen the tartar, favoring its easy removal. In addition, by chewing them constantly, they also stimulate their gums, helping them to be free of infections or inflammations.

5. Water additives

This option is not a solution per se but rather an ideal supplement to help keep your cat’s breath fresh. Currently, the market doesn’t offer many additives that work, so you’ll have to do your homework to find the best VOHC-approved product.

How to keep your cat’s teeth clean without brushing them? Final Words

If your cat is fussier than usual and won’t let you brush his teeth, you don’t have to worry too much because several options can help you keep your cat’s oral hygiene in top condition.

From a dental gel to a chewable toy, all these options will prevent your little one from accumulating so much tartar and always have fresh breath. Remember that nothing replaces toothbrushing. This will always be the best, but if you decide on one of these alternatives, it is essential to know that you must complement it, including more than one in your cat’s routine, to ensure that your cat’s teeth are as clean as possible.

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