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How do I brush my cat's teeth?

How do I brush my cat's teeth?
by Dr Grant Hampson

Read time: 2 min

The best way to keep your cat’s teeth clean is a) brushing them and b) regular vet visits.

Read that twice. 

Despite what you might have heard, kibble doesn’t clean teeth. There’s no independent research to back it. So as hardcore cat parents, we have to step up and learn how to brush our cats’ teeth. It can seem daunting, but use our guide to help you, and you’ll both be pros in no time. 

Why brush your cat’s teeth? 

Clean teeth are just as important for your cat as they are for you. Regular brushing of your cat’s teeth from a young age can prevent the need for veterinary dental intervention. If you can do it, even if it takes time to get your cat comfortable with the idea, then your cat’s health will be better for it.  

When to start brushing your cat’s teeth

The earlier you start brushing your cat’s teeth, the better. That’s not to say older cats can’t learn – they can and should – but it just might take a little more time and patience if your cat isn’t receptive to it. Whatever your cat’s age though, it’s best to go through various steps before going straight in with a toothbrush.

What you’ll need to brush your cat’s teeth:

  • Cat toothpaste (your vet will stock something) Never use human toothpaste

  • Finger brush

  • Pet toothbrush or a baby toothbrush

How to brush your cat’s teeth

Step 1. 

Start by gently opening your cat’s mouth to allow them to get used to it. Do this a good few times before moving on to step 2.

Step 2. 

Gently start moving your finger along their teeth, adding a small amount of cat toothpaste after the first few times.

Step 3.

Slowly start introducing the toothbrush, working your way up over time.

How often should I brush my cat’s teeth?

Just like your own dental routine, this should be done every day, but we know that can be hard. A minimum of 3 days a week can really help make a difference.

Sometimes, a cat won’t like you brushing their teeth, and if that happens, don’t panic. There are a few other options:

  1. If the toothbrush doesn’t work out, you can rub the cat toothpaste onto the teeth with your finger.

  2. PlaqueOff is a natural feed supplement you can sprinkle on your cat's food, which reduces bad breath, plaque and tartar. Sadly, you can’t use this if your cat has thyroid disease.

  3. Talk to your vet: they’ll be able to recommend other options, and the nursing team might be able to help you with getting your cat used to brushing.

Ready to get started? Don’t forget: if you’ve got any questions about how to brush your cat’s teeth, you can always get in touch with our free in-house vet team and our Cat Experts, by emailing And when you’re ready to show off your cat’s shiniest fangs, tag us on Instagram or join us on the KatKin Club House, where the hardcore cat parents live.

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