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How to Keep Cat’s Teeth Clean Without Brushing (2023)

Owning a cat is a fun adventure filled with scratches, cuddles, and of course, a never-ending reminder that you do not wear the pants in your household. Nonetheless, we want our cats to be happy, healthy, and to smell good. So how to keep cat’s teeth clean without brushing?

So, you may be wondering how to keep cat’s teeth clean without brushing. Since nobody wants their cat’s mouth to smell as bad as their kitty litter, many parents have attempted to brush their pet’s teeth at least once (or have considered it).

But brushing isn’t always the best way forward. Especially if you’re a pretty busy individual or your cat just never seems to get accustomed to it. It may be time to find alternatives to keeping your cat’s teeth clean.

Keep reading to learn more about why you need to care for your cat’s dental health and a couple of ways to ensure that you don’t lose a mound of skin in the process.

ginger cat with toothbrush



Why Is It Important to Keep Your Cat’s Teeth Clean?

As a concerned feline friend, you may want to keep your cat’s teeth clean simply because you are worried that their mouths may give off a scent they hate. But, there are more legitimate reasons for improving their dental health.

Your house cat can do just about everything on its own except brush its teeth. Compared to wild cats, elements are missing from a house cat’s diet and daily lifestyle. Things like bones and a varied diet stop them from taking the necessary dental precautions to ensure healthy teeth and gums. This arduous and sometimes dangerous task becomes your responsibility as their primary caregiver.

how to keep cats teeth clean without brushing

Just as with humans, tooth decay, plaque, infections, and dental diseases are consequences of bad hygiene. Cats are prone to gingivitis, periodontitis, or tooth resorption. These diseases can stop your cat from eating and caring for themselves as they wade through the pain.

How to Keep Cat’s Teeth Clean without Brushing: 6 Options

So, you’ve decided to care for your cat’s teeth but do not have the time (or patience) to brush their teeth every three days. Since training them to get used to someone scratching in their mouths is a mountain in and of itself, you will be relieved to know that there are more accessible methods out there.

While these methods do not entirely replace the benefits of brushing their teeth, it does help prevent many dental diseases caused by plaque and tartar buildup. These simple methods can help your cat remain healthy and somewhat fresh.

ginger cat having teeth cleaned

1. Dental Diets

Dental diets are by far one of the easiest methods to maintain your cat’s dental health and prevent any plaque and tartar buildup. While wet food options are usually an excellent fix for most cat parents, dry food does have some teeth-cleaning abilities.

There are scientifically proven dry food diets that take care of overall health while maintaining oral health. The science here lies in the size and make-up of the kibbles themselves.

If you’re looking for supplementary dry food, look for something that’s bigger or has a denser pellet. If the cat’s tooth can grip into the pellet, then this will brush off any plaque on the tooth. Make sure that the food doesn’t crumble around the tooth itself for maximum benefits.

ginger cat at vet teeth

2. Dental Chews

While changing your cat’s diet may not be your favorite option, it’s safe to say that there are tons of other options available to you. You can choose from a range of kitty treats to help you clean your cat’s teeth every once in a while.

Some of the treats are specifically designed for dental hygiene; they’re usually tasty and available in liver, chicken, beef, or salmon flavors. These treats typically have a mixture of textures to ensure clean teeth and to massage gums.

Other kinds of treats, like the C.E.T Intellident Cat Bites, contain hexametaphosphate, glycerin, calcium sulfate, and red iron oxide to ensure fresh breath and strengthen the teeth.

ginger cat at vet red toothbrush

3. Dental Toys

If your cat is on a specific diet, you’re possibly afraid of overfeeding it. Or you may have noticed that your cat is simply a picky eater. You may want to ensure that your cat has some excellent methods to provide oral health while maintaining its physical health.

Cat toys are also pretty useful when removing plaque and ensuring that old food has been removed from the crevices between your cat’s teeth. Toothbrush toys like this catnip toy will allow your cat to play around, stimulate their senses, take away boredom and freshen their breath. 

Some toys like this cute little cactus are made of rubber for a durable and bite-resistant toy that ensures your cat won’t destroy it in the first go. Simply offer it to your cat and allow them to play with the tiny fronds sticking out to help scrape the plaque off their teeth.

4. Water Additives and Oral Gels and Sprays

You can also use water additives, oral gels, or sprays that will help kill bacteria before it becomes plaque and calcifies into tartar.

A fresh-smelling water additive will help relieve bad breath. It may not remove all of the plaque on your cat’s teeth, so you’ll have to use it in tandem with toys or treats. The additive helps protect tooth enamel and supports gum tissue in the process.

cat yawning

If you’re skeptical of dosing your cat’s water, you could also try a cat spray like the PetSilver Teeth and Gum Spray that allows you to dose your cat when necessary. If you’re not 100% certain of the chemicals and additives, this may be a better option for you.

5. Dental Medications

Dental medications are also a pretty handy thing to have around. It is beneficial to have a supplementary anti-inflammatory product if your cat shows signs of gum disease. 

While prevention is always better than cure, early signs of gingivitis will irritate your cat and should be treated before it gets out of hand. If you’ve gone to the vet and feel confident that you know the problem, you can always help your cat control the inflammation and irritability.

cat teeth

Things like Probiotic tablets will help boost your cat’s immune system. Other options like natural antibiotics can also help destroy an influx of bacterial infections. So, having these in the cupboard won’t be such a bad idea at all. 

6. Regular Check-ups

While there are many ways for us to ensure that our cats are happy and healthy, a regular check-up will prove that you are on the right track.

In the same way, you would worry about intestinal health, ticks, fleas, and the like; your regular veterinarian should also check on your cat’s teeth. This will help you figure out if the food, toys, or treats you’re using are helping clean plaque off your cat’s teeth.

When visiting the vet, be sure to ask them about different kinds of dental care foods and some of the ingredients in the treats. This will help you figure out if your chosen treats are helpful to your cat or if they will just flare up their Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD).

ginger cat at vet having teeth checked

3 Frequently Asked Questions on Keeping Your Cats Teeth Clean Without Brushing

If you’re scouring the internet for answers, have a look at this short FAQ section to find the answer to whatever question we may have missed in the section above.

1. How Can I Remove Tartar From My Cat’s Teeth at Home?

Bacteria accumulate in the mouth and attach themselves to the teeth. This can appear like a film over the tooth made up of these bacterial colonies. They sit on the teeth and soak up nutrients from the food left in your cat’s mouth. This is what we call plaque.

Once the film calcifies, after a couple of days, you’ll notice a rock-hard yellowish crust; this is tartar. While plaque is easier to remove, tartar is somewhat trickier since it’s harder and porous. Once you’ve reached tartar build-up, the best way to remove it is to see a professional and get your cat’s teeth cleaned professionally.

grey and white cat having its teeth checked

2. Is It Too Late to Brush My Cat’s Teeth?

Since the task of brushing teeth with a dental kit is quite invasive, it does take some time to prepare your cat for the inevitable. Usually, you’ll train your cat step by step to accept a good tooth cleaning.

Your cat will have to get used to the toothpaste you’ll use, to the action of something scratching in their mouths, and to the toothbrush itself. It’s best to train your cat when they’re younger as it will be easier to create a consistent routine with them.

3. Is It Okay to Not Brush Your Cat’s Teeth?

Yes, it is okay. Dental health is essential, but at the same time, if you do not have the time, consistent opportunity, or patience to train your cat, then it might be best to avoid it altogether. This does not mean avoiding their dental health, as you will have to enlist one of the alternative methods, as mentioned above.

a vet brushing the teeth of a cat in studio

Final Say on Cleaning Cat’s Teeth Without Brushing

While cats are best known for their minimal maintenance and don’t-need-you attitude, they have some faults created by their socialization. Since they’ve been domesticated, they cannot maintain their oral health, and it is our responsibility to do that for them.

Be sure to check in on your cat regularly to ensure that they’re safe and healthy. Try to get them toys, chewy treats, and even regular visits to the vet to cover all your bases. Prevention, as they say, is better than cure.

This way, your cat can continue to lick your nose without you wanting to throw a bunch of breath mints his way.

sokoke cat with teeth out

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