As a part of keeping your kitty’s overall health in good standing, it’s important to pay close attention to her dental hygiene. In order to do this, you’ll have to know how to give a simple at-home examination of your cat’s gums and teeth. An at-home dental exam, has been recommended to be given for about 1 to 2 minutes and about 2 to 3 times monthly. 

A quick examination of your cat’s gums and teeth, can provide an early detection of any issues that require an appointment with the veterinarian. Examining your cat’s gums and teeth is simple and after a while, can become an accepted part of your cat’s routine.

Preparing For The Examination
Before you begin the examination, it’s important to be prepared. Gather all the tools you’ll need before hand and select a time and place that your cat will be at her most calm. You should make sure that you are relaxed as well, because your cat is acutely aware of your emotional state and will follow your cues. Select an area that has good lighting. You may want to have another person help you with holding your cat’s head back, as you look at her open mouth.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Medical Pen light
  • Dental Chews 

Checking Her Breath
The first step is to smell your cat’s breath. In general, cats don’t typically have bad breath, so if you smell something particularly off putting or unpleasant, this can be a sign that her gums/bones are infected. Other possible reasons, may have to do with diabetes or kidney disease.

Tilt Back Her Head
Begin to talk in a low and soft tone. You’ll want to relax your cat, with the soothing words coming from your mouth. As you continue to talk calm—ever so gently—slightly tilt your cat’s head back toward their tailbone.

Opening Her Mouth
Spread open the side of your kitty’s mouth, with your index finger and thumb. The next step requires good lighting or a pen light.

Teeth Examination
Starting on one side of your cat’s mouth, inspect her back teeth. What you’ll be looking for is plaque (yellowish color), Tarter (Darker material) and teeth that may be cracked or broken. The next thing you’ll want to inspect is the color of her gums. The ideal color of her gums, should be a healthy pink. They should not be red or a faded/weak pink. If her gums are growing over any teeth, this may be an issue in which you should be concerned.

Continue the same examination technique on her front teeth, then on the other side of her mouth. When you are performing your examination, make a note of any issues you come across. Then present your notes at your cat’s next vet exam.

Throat Examination
Lastly, take a look at your cat’s throat for any redness, with a cobblestone shape. If this does appear on your cat’s throat, it can be an indication of a seriously painful disease—found in older cats—called stomatitis.

Reward Time
After the examination, it helps to positively enforce good behavior with a healthy dental chew treat. This technique can help to get your cat to look forward to gum and teeth examinations.

Behavior Problems During The Exam
It’s not uncommon for cat’s to get unruly during an examination. If your cat starts to fight during the exam, stop and try another time. If you try to hold your cat down against her will, she’ll remember the experience, making it harder for you to perform future exams. The idea is to create a positive experience that your cat will want to willingly repeat.

Although it can be done on cats of all ages, it would be best to begin gum and teeth examinations on your cat at an early age. Once she gets used to the procedure, you can begin to make it a routine part of her schedule.

Lastly, set-up a veterinary exam once a year. If your kitty has had dental issues in the past, consider going to the vet twice a year. Thanks for reading “How To Check For Healthy Cat Gums And Teeth”.