How to Properly Check Your Cat’s Teeth and Gums

A key part of a cat’s dental care program is checking their teeth and gums at home. It is recommended that owners perform this routine on their cats for one to two minutes at least 2 to 3 times a month. It can help you spot potential problems early so you can schedule an appointment with your veterinarian and keep your kitty as healthy as possible. You’ll be happy to know it’s relatively easy and most cats get used to it after the first few times.

Getting ready to check your cat’s teeth

Many cat owners will laugh when you ask them to check their cat’s teeth. People believe their cats don’t sit still for it, or their cats fight and scratch all the time. This may not be the easiest task, but it’s important, and being prepared will make a difference in the world.

Gather all your supplies in advance so you can put all your attention on your cat. Choose a time when your cat is naturally calm. Make sure you stay calm too, as your cat will notice any negativity or nervousness about your exam.

You will want to find a comfortable place with plenty of light. It may also be easier to ask a partner or friend to open your cat’s mouth when you’re examining the mouth.

what do you need

  • small flashlight
  • Tooth Chew Reward

breathing check

First, smell the cat’s breath.Cats are not born with a very pleasant or bad breath, so if it smells particularly bad or unusual, try to pay attention. An unpleasant smell may indicate an infection of the gums and/or bones. If the cause of the dental problem can be eliminated, your veterinarian can check for other possible causes of abnormal breathing, such as kidney disease or diabetes.

head back

Begin a quiet and gentle conversation with your cat to appear calm and reassure your cat. Continue this sweet talk while you complete the rest of the process. Then, gently tilt the cat’s head back slightly.

open mouth

Next, open the cat’s mouth with your thumb and index finger. Make sure you have a good flashlight or generally good lighting for the next few steps.

check teeth

Starting on one side of the mouth, examine the cat’s back teeth. You’ll want to look for yellowing (plaque) or darker material (tartar), as well as any cracked or broken teeth. Then, observe the color of the gums. They should be a healthy pink, not an angry red or pale pink.If gums grow on the teeth, this may also indicate a problem.

Do the same dental and gum exams on the front teeth and the other side of the mouth. As you work, pay attention to any problems you notice. Write them down when you’re done so you can remember to tell the vet about your observations.

Check the throat

Before you let go of your kitten, look for redness at the back of their throat, especially the “pebble” appearance.this is a sign Stomatitis, a serious and painful disease usually found in older cats.


When you’re all done, be sure to reward your cat with a healthy treat. Dental chewing would be an excellent and appropriate option. After a few of these checks, your cat may even start looking forward to this unique treat!

Prevent problems during dental exams

If at any point you’re arguing to get attention, give up and try another day. Trying to restrain a cat who is visibly annoyed at your poking and prodding will only make your next attempt more difficult and could result in you getting bitten. You want your dental exam to be a positive experience.

Proper dental care will help your cat stay healthy and becomes even more important as it ages. Try to introduce this program as young as possible, but know it’s never too late to start. Once you and your cat are comfortable with the procedure, it is important to practice regularly. If you can’t do it several times a month, then aim to do it once a month.

Finally, have an annual veterinary check-up. If the cat has had dental problems in the past, it is recommended to have checkups at least twice a year or more as needed.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your veterinarian right away. For health-related questions, be sure to consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know your pet’s health history, and can give your pet the best advice.