How to Brush a Cat's Teeth

Slowly introduce your cat to an oral care routine. First, get them comfortable with having activity around their mouth and teeth. Gently stroke the outside of their cheeks and lips with a finger. Gradually introduce a dab of veterinary toothpaste on your finger, letting the cat taste it. Never use toothpaste designed for humans, as this may upset a cat’s digestion. A dilution of salt and water can also be used instead of toothpaste. Keep brushing sessions brief, just a couple of minutes a day. Praise and reassure your cat to keep the experience positive.

Help cats get used to the feel of the brush. Place a small amount of toothpaste on a brush, use a slow circular motion and brush one or two teeth and the adjoining gum line. Lightly touching a cat’s gums with a cotton swab may also help transition them into being comfortable with a toothbrush.

Over the next several days, slowly increase the number of teeth brushed. Brush in a circular motion, concentrating on the outside surfaces of the teeth and gum lines.

If a cat does not enjoy the toothbrush, you can try wrapping your finger with a piece of gauze and scrubbing the teeth in a circular motion.

Cats like routines, so make oral care a two to three times a week habit at minimum. Use treats and lavish praise upon your cat, in order to make tooth brushing and maintenance a pleasurable experience for all.

For more information about feline dental health, visit our Oral Health for Cats and Cats and Their Teeth pages.

For a demonstration of how to brush a cat's teeth, visit the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Feline Health Center.

We’re not veterinarians. Mud Bay staff are well educated, and our writing is well-researched, but neither the advice of a Mud Bay staff member nor reading Mud Bay's written materials can substitute for visiting a veterinarian. We offer carefully chosen, natural solutions, but we believe that veterinary conditions should be diagnosed and treated by professionals.