The Best Cat Toothpaste to Help Keep Your Cat’s Teeth and Gums Healthy

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Here are the best cat toothpaste we’ll be covering:

Caring for your cat’s dental health 

Maintaining your cat’s dental hygiene is more important than you might think. Without proper care, bacteria in the mouth can cause swelling, bleeding, and tenderness. This condition is not only painful but can cause damage to vital organs such as the kidneys, liver, and heart. 

Cats with dental disease also might lose weight because they find it painful to eat. Fortunately, there are many things you can do and products you can buy to keep your cat’s teeth and gums healthy and clean.

Is it good to brush your cat’s teeth?

Brushing your cat’s teeth is one of the best ways to keep your cat’s teeth and gums healthy. For cats that tolerate it, toothbrushing can help prevent gum disease and bad breath by reducing plaque and tartar build-up. While it’s best to brush your cat’s teeth every day or at least every other day, even twice a week will help. 

If you start when your cat is young, she will be more likely to accept the routine. Some cats actually enjoy it. There are many dental care products on the market to help you get started. This article will explain how to brush your cat’s teeth and help you choose the best cat toothpaste.

Can you use regular toothpaste for cats?

You should never use human toothpaste or other dental products on a cat. Human toothpaste contains ingredients that are harmful to cats if swallowed such as baking soda, salt, and high levels of fluoride. These ingredients are unpalatable and can cause stomach upset and illness in cats.

Pet toothpaste is designed with your cat’s safety and well-being in mind. It comes in a variety of feline-friendly flavors such as poultry, malt, fish, and beef. Unflavored toothpastes are also available if your cat prefers them. It is safe to swallow, fluoride-free, and often contains enzymes to help break down plaque. 

Step by step guide: How can I brush my cat’s teeth at home? 

Brushing a cat’s teeth takes time, practice, and patience. Before you get started, we recommend bringing your cat to a veterinarian to check for signs of disease or infection. If your cat is experiencing redness, swelling, bleeding, foul odors, drooling, or difficulty eating, she will need to have her teeth professionally cleaned.

Once any major issues have been addressed and your cat’s mouth has healed from any procedures or extractions, it is time to get started. 

First, choose a convenient time of day to establish a routine, and find a spot where your cat is comfortable. This can be your lap or a favorite chair or cat bed. Then, start getting your cat used to having her mouth touched by lifting her lips and exposing her teeth. Be sure to reward your cat with a treat after each session.

Once your cat gets used to this routine, you can introduce toothpaste and brushing. Start by giving her a small amount of toothpaste to taste. Then put some toothpaste on a cat toothbrush, a fingertip brush, a piece of sterile gauze, a cotton swab, or your finger. 

Holding your cat from behind so you have control, place your hand on the top of her head and tilt it back at a 45-degree angle. Using your thumb and index finger, grip the cat around the cheekbone, lift the chin, and pull down the lower lip. Apply the toothpaste to the brush and rub teeth at the gum line in a circular motion.

Starting at the back of the mouth and working your way forward to the long canine teeth, gently massage the gums. At first, brush one or two teeth for no more than 10 seconds on each side. Gradually increase the time until you are able to brush all the teeth. Always end by giving a few treats and plenty of praise.

There may be some bleeding at first, but this should dissipate as you brush more often. Try to make toothbrushing a pleasant activity for you and your cat. If your cat resists, you can try wrapping her in a towel or blanket and making a “kitty burrito,” but it is better not to turn it into a negative or confrontational experience.

Our recommendation for the best cat toothpaste

When choosing the best cat toothpaste, safety is the number one concern. To be safe, cat toothpaste should be fluoride-free, safe to swallow, non-foaming, and contain no salt or baking soda. Other things to look for are cat-friendly flavors and the inclusion of enzymes to break down plaque. To get you started, here are descriptions of a few of cat toothpastes with pros and cons for each one.

Virbac CET Enzymatic Toothpaste 

Formulated for dogs and cats, this enzymatic toothpaste is safe for daily use. It comes in five different flavors, poultry, malt, beef, seafood, and vanilla-mint, so picky cats should be able to find one they like. 

This toothpaste has no foaming agents and is safe to swallow. It uses an abrasive action to remove plaque and prevent tartar build-up. Made in the USA and vet recommended, CET enzymatic toothpaste freshens breath and helps keep cats’ mouths clean and healthy. If you are catering to a fussy cat, this might be the best choice.

Pros: No foaming agents, safe to swallow, contains enzymes to break down plaque, made in the USA, available in five flavors, freshens breath

Cons: Contains sorbital (a sugar alcohol), has arrived spoiled to some customers

Bluestem Dental Care Toothpaste 

Bluestem’s dental care toothpaste is formulated for cats and dogs and uses coactiv + technology to fight plaque and tartar. The chicken flavor appeals to most cats. It comes with a dual-ended toothbrush, so everything you need is included in one package.

Formulated from food-grade material and free of sugar, alcohol, and xylitol, this toothpaste is safe, effective, and easy to use. It is made in Canada and tested for efficacy. It is also less expensive than many other brands. This toothpaste is a good choice because it includes everything you need to get started at an affordable price.

Pros: Sugar-free, alcohol-free, xylitol-free, chicken flavor, easy to use, inexpensive, safe, comes with toothbrush

Cons: Only one flavor

Vetoquinol Enzadent Enzymatic Toothpaste 

This non-foaming gel toothpaste uses a triple-enzyme formula to remove food debris and plaque from your cat’s teeth. It is safe to swallow, convenient, and easy to use. It comes in a poultry flavor that most cats love. An easy-to-use finger brush is included.

Made by Vetoquinol, a member of the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC), this toothpaste comes in a small tube and is more expensive than some other brands. It is a good choice if you are looking for a great-tasting toothpaste that cats love. 

Pros: Non-foaming, triple-enzyme formula, safe to swallow, finger brush included, poultry flavor tastes good to cats

Cons: Small tube, expensive, contains sorbital

Pet King Brands Oratene Brushless Toothpaste Gel 

This gel toothpaste is non-drying and designed to be used without a toothbrush. It is non-foaming and easy to use. Simply apply a half-inch strip of the gel to your cat’s gums once or twice a day to keep her teeth clean and her gums healthy. It will also keep your cat’s breath fresh, provide relief from pain, and prevent dry mouth. 

Free from xylitol, alcohol, detergents, and harsh chemicals, it is gentle and 100% safe. This toothpaste is especially good for fussy cats, cats that won’t tolerate brushing, and for cats that don’t drink much water.

Pros: Non-drying, brushless, safe, chemical-free, easy to apply, eliminates bad breath, pain relief

Cons: May not be good for pets with sensitive tummies 

Petrodex Dental Kit 

The only toothpaste on this list made specifically for cats, this toothpaste uses a hydrogen peroxide producing enzymatic formula to reduce plaque and tartar. It comes in a malt flavor that cats love. The toothpaste is non-foaming and pet-safe. 

A soft-bristled toothbrush and a finger toothbrush to help remove debris and massage gums are included in this kit. This toothpaste is a great choice because it is affordable, designed specifically for cats, and includes everything you need in one package.

Pros: Cats love the malt flavor, designed for cats, kit includes everything you need, affordable, contains enzymes

Cons: Only one flavor

Oxyfresh Pet Toothpaste 

This non-flavored gel uses oxygene, an exclusive ingredient, to eliminate bad breath. It fights periodontal disease by neutralizing bacteria. With no brushing required, this gel is easy to use, gentle, and cruelty free. By simply rubbing it into the gum line with your finger, you will improve the condition and hygiene of your cat’s mouth.

Safe and free of harsh chemicals, alcohol, or masking agents, this toothpaste is made in the USA. It is a family choice award-winning product that soothes and cleans teeth and can be used on wounds as well.

Pros: Family choice award winner, no brushing needed, no flavors added, soothing, safe, USA-made, cruelty free, can be used on wounds

Cons: Has a minor odor

How can I keep my cat’s teeth clean without brushing? 

Even if you follow all of the steps outlined above, some cats simply will not tolerate toothbrushing. If your cat is the anxious type, fearful, easily agitated, or aggressive, toothbrushing might be an option. Fortunately, there are a few ways to help keep your cat’s teeth clean that don’t involve brushing. 

Special diets

There is some debate over whether commercial dental diets help to clean cats’ teeth. In theory, the texture of dental food’s larger nuggets removes plaque from teeth during chewing. However, dental foods might not work because cats don’t actually chew their food but swallow it whole. 

A high-quality diet free of grains and rich in moisture might actually be better in promoting general heath and preventing inflammation than commercial dental diets.

Treats

Dental treats are designed with an abrasive texture and formulated to promote dental health and fight bacteria. They come in a variety of flavors and might help to prevent gingivitis. 

While there are no conclusive studies that prove they are beneficial, offering dental chews or biscuits to your cat might be helpful. Another option is to provide raw bones for your cat to chew on as she would in the wild. This might help remove plaque from teeth. Cooked bones are not safe for cats because they can lead to choking.

Supplements

Some supplements help to improve dental health in cats by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. Probiotics, enzymes, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamin E, selenium, taurine, and antiseptics are supplements that could be helpful. 

What can I use instead of toothpaste?

If it turns out that toothbrushing isn’t for you or your cat, you might consider using dental wipes or pet water additives. There are a few brands that make wipes and additives to choose from. 

Bluestem Dental Wipes reduce tartar and improve bad-smelling breath without the bother of toothpaste or toothbrushes. Flavored with a mild vanilla taste, these wipes are safe, food-grade, alcohol-free, xylitol-free, and sugar-free.

Garyob Pet Dental Fingers Wipes help eliminate plaque build-up, remove stains, and freshen breath. Made from cotton, these textured pads are gentle, hygienic, safe, and moist. Slip the pad over your finger and use it to massage the cat’s teeth and gums in a circular direction. 

One of the easiest ways to improve your cat’s oral health is by using a pet water additive such as Bluestem Pet Water Additive Oral Care. Mixing two capfuls of this additive into drinking water will reduce plaque by approximately 25 percent. This product complies with Canada’s strict regulations and has passed safety tests. It is available in chicken flavor or non-flavored versions. 

If you notice that your cat is reluctant to drink water with the additive, you can start with a smaller amount and increase it gradually.

Can I brush my cat’s teeth with baking soda or other homemade ingredients?

It is not a good idea to brush your cat’s teeth with baking soda because it has a high alkaline content. This can upset the acid balance in the stomach. Also, it tastes terrible and is likely to make your cat more resistant to toothbrushing. 

While there aren’t any homemade ingredients per se that are useful for brushing your cat’s teeth, hard chew toys made for cats or raw bones might help stimulate the gums and clean the teeth. 

However, toys that are too hard can cause tooth fractures, so be sure that toys are not harder than a fingernail. Providing fresh water at all times is another great way to help keep your cat’s teeth clean and free of debris.