Taking care of your cat’s teeth is crucial for their overall health at all stages of life. While cats are often seen as independent creatures, when it comes to their dental health, they will need a little extra help from their humans.

Here are tips on how to establish a good dental health routine with your cat and what to change depending on their lifestage.

Why is cat dental care important?

Cats can develop many dental diseases due to their curious nature. Caring for your cat’s teeth and gums isn’t only about dental care, poor oral hygiene can impact the health of other organs in their body. Bacteria from their mouth can enter the bloodstream and potentially cause or exacerbate systemic health issues such as heart disease and kidney disease. Proper dental care can help reduce the risk of these complications.

Your cat might face dental issues like periodontal disease, gingivitis and tooth decay during their life (or is it nine lives?!). These problems don’t just hurt; they can mess with your cat’s eating and grooming routines, making life less fun for them.


Your cat’s teeth will change over the course of their life so it’s important to tailor your dental care routine depending on their age. Here are some things to keep in mind and strategies to implement at their different life stages.

Quick links:

Kitten (0-6 months)
Adolescent (7-17 months)
Adult (18 months-6 years)
Senior (7-12 years)
Golden oldie (13+ years)


Begin regularly brushing your kitten’s teeth and massaging their gums when they’re young. Not only does this promote the growth of clean teeth and healthy gums, but it also helps them get used to the process early on. Watch out for bites on your first few tries and reach out to your vet if you need support and guidance.

Fun fact: Kittens are born with 28 baby teeth, which naturally fall out around four months old, making way for a new set of adult teeth.

Age range: kittens 0–6 months


If you didn’t establish a brushing routine when your cat was a kitten, now is the time to begin. Take your cat in for a check-up with your vet to assess their teeth and gums and provide guidance on any necessary dental care.

Teeth cleaning is only one aspect of caring for your adolescent cat’s teeth, a balanced diet can also help to promote good dental health. Consider incorporating dental-specific diets or treats that help reduce plaque and tartar buildup.

Age range: adolescent 7–17 months


By starting a dental hygiene routine with your cat when they are young you can turn it into a habit (for both you and your cat). By the time cats reach adulthood, they have 30 fully grown teeth. Around 70% of cats over three years old deal with dental diseases, so it’s critical to regularly brush their teeth to prevent plaque and tartar build-up. This can help reduce the risk of more serious diseases.

Schedule six monthly check-ups with your vet and ask them to assess your cat’s dental health – this will help them catch any issues early on. Your adult cat may also benefit from professional dental cleaning performed by your vet – the frequency will depend on your cat’s dental health and recommendations from your vet.

At home, keep an eye out for any signs of dental problems, such as bad breath, swollen gums or difficulty eating.

Age range: adult 18 months–6 years

Senior and Golden oldies

Older cats are more at risk of dental issues such as tartar build up, gum disease and tooth decay; however, these issues can be prevented if you’re able to provide ongoing care and a good dental hygiene routine.

Continue to brush their teeth several times per week, adjusting the frequency based on their dental health and any recommendations from your vet. Keep a close eye on your senior cat’s dental health and watch for signs of dental problems, such as bad breath, swollen gums, drooling, or difficulty eating. If you notice any issues, consult your vet as soon as possible.

By prioritising dental health and using these tips from a young age you can help ensure your senior cat enjoys good oral health and overall wellbeing into their golden years.

Age range: seniors 7–12 years and golden oldies 13+ years

Symptoms to watch out for

Sometimes, having white teeth does not indicate your cat has healthy teeth. You also need to watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Smelly breath
  • Inflamed or bleeding gums
  • Increased drooling
  • Loose teeth
  • Discoloured teeth
  • Facial swelling
  • Decreased appetite

Any of these symptoms could indicate an underlying dental condition, like oral infections or gingivitis. Reach out to your vet as soon as you notice unusual symptoms in your cat.

Dental care beyond brushing

Besides making teeth brushing a regular part of your cat’s dental routine, there are additional steps you can include to help keep your cat’s teeth and gums clean and healthy.

  • Dental food: specifically, designed to reduce plaque, stain and tartar buildup.
  • Dental chews: treats designed to clean teeth as your cat enjoys a good gnaw.
  • Food additives: can soften and remove tartar buildup, prevent new tartar formulation and reduce bad breath.
  • Water additives: designed to supplement other dental remedies and freshen breath.

Just like humans, keeping up with regular dental check-ups for your cat is key to maintaining good oral health throughout their life.

Book an appointment for a dental check-up and find out if your clinic offers the Best for Pet wellness plan to receive a $250 discount on dental cleaning.