Caring for Your Kitten’s New Teeth
Proper oral hygiene is as important for cats as it is for us humans. Here’s how to keep your kitten’s mouth and teeth healthy as they grow up.
Kittens are born without teeth; their first “baby teeth” (or “milk teeth”) should appear when they are 2 to 4 weeks old. During this time, they’ll start to eat solid food, and they’ll also start learning about hunting behaviours and play-fighting.
Tips for healthy baby teeth:
Your kitten will typically have a set of 26 baby teeth. When they are 3 to 4 months old, these baby teeth will start to fall out, and their new adult teeth will grow in. Give your kitten some appropriate chew toys during this time, to help with the discomfort of teething.
By 9 months, your kitten should have their full set of 30 adult teeth. These teeth are permanent, and will require good care throughout the stages of your pet’s life.
Caring for your kitten's adult teeth
Brushing your kitten’s teeth can be challenging at first, but if you can get them used to it for an early age, they’ll enjoy better dental health later in life. Regular brushing helps to get rid of plaque and tartar build-up, and this prevents gum disease.
Use a very small, soft toothbrush - like a baby toothbrush - or a specialised silicone cat toothbrush that fits over your finger. Use special pet-friendly toothpaste, which is safe to swallow and has a taste cats will enjoy. Never use human toothpaste!
Ask your vet to recommend a toothbrush and toothpaste if you are unsure. You can also ask your vet for brushing instructions.
Tips for brushing your kitten’s teeth for the first time
Ideally, you should brush your kitten’s teeth around 3 times a week. If your kitten doesn’t take to brushing, be sure you take them to the vet for regular dental check-ups at the vet.
The right diet also helps to promote good oral and dental health. Once your kitten has grown into an adult cat, foods like Hill’s Science Plan Oral Care can help to keep their teeth in good condition.
Warning signs to watch out for
Look out for signs that show your kitten or cat may be having a problem with their teeth or gums:
If your kitten or cat shows any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
Even cats with healthy teeth still need regular professional check-ups. Your vet may occasionally recommend a dental cleaning, to help prevent plaque from building up.