Brushing a cat’s teeth is an unusual thing to do, but if your Bengal lets you do it, brushing can be an excellent measure to prevent or reduce tartar forming.
Most cat dental diseases are caused by plaque forming, which then mineralizes and turns into tartar; tooth decay, which most commonly affects humans, is rare in cats. Most tartar is deposited on the upper and lower teeth, the small molars, and the first upper molars.
Why Bengal cats get tartar
Tartar forms when bacteria grows on the teeth, due to plaque buildup. If a Bengal cat is actively using its teeth, only a minimal layer of tartar forms on the surface of the teeth due to their friction. Consequently, outdoor cats that hunt and eat prey (mice and birds) have little plaque on their teeth. The same can be said about the teeth of cats that are fed large chunks of meat, dry cat food or given bones from which the cat chews the meat. If a Bengal cat is fed soft food, it doesn’t work its teeth much and plaque can build up on them. Plaque and then tartar form at the gum, pushing it away from the teeth.
Does tartar cause dental diseases in Bengal cats
Gum wounds and bacteria entering the cat’s mouth with food is a major cause of gum inflammation or gingivitis. This appears as soreness when eating hard food and the presence of a bright pink or red streak forming around the teeth. Tartar looks like a yellowish-green rim at first, but over time it builds up more and more. If left unremoved, tartar may get bigger than the tooth itself. As tartar is deposited, the inflammation gets worse. The gums peel away from the teeth and bacteria gain access to their roots. Eventually, extensive infection can develop and teeth can become loose and fall out.
How to prevent dental issues in Bengals
Such inflammation always causes profuse salivation. A Bengal cat with dental issues often smells bad from the mouth. Loose teeth hurt, so the cat eats very carefully, often on one side of the mouth; sometimes the Bengal cat does not eat at all. She may also scrub or rub her mouth with her paw.
You can have the tartar removed at the veterinarian, often under anesthesia. The ideal means of preventing Bengal cat dental disease is a proper feeding diet and periodic dental checkups at the veterinarian. Some owners consider regular brushing of Bengals teeth to be the best prevention of dental disease.
How to brush a Bengal cat’s teeth
It is best to use a special toothbrush for cats, wetting it lightly and dipping it in a special toothpaste. Many cats often dislike some toothpastes because of their taste and the foaming detergent they contain, so try to find the right toothpaste for your Bengal. This will make brushing your cat’s teeth easier.
Place your Bengal cat on a table in a sitting position and hold her by the scruff of the neck, with your helper holding her paws. It is best to cover the front paws with a thick blanket, securing it at the neck. Brush firmly but not excessively over the teeth from top to bottom and side to side. Brush the front and back of upper and lower teeth, paying special attention to where teeth meet gums. If you notice any bleeding, stop the procedure. If the cat refuses to use a brush, you can brush his teeth with your finger wrapped in a piece of soft cloth. Make sure that the cat does not bite you. Weekly brushing is usually enough.