It’s never too early to start looking after your kitten’s teeth. A regular brushing routine can help to prevent tooth decay and gum problems in the future.
What are "milk teeth"?
At around 3 weeks old, your kitten’s” baby teeth” or “milk teeth” (i.e. primary teeth) will start having more functionality and as the kittens starts eating solid food, they also start learning how to hunt and catch prey, and how to play/fight with siblings. As the kitten grows so their jaws size does, the necessity for stronger and larger teeth will be required, Hence the baby teeth are naturally replaced by permanent ones when the jaw reached their adult size resulting in your cat losing teeth.
The duration of this process can vary from kitten to kitten, but generally tooth loss starts at about 3 months of age and ends around 9 months. It is stimulated by biting toys and playing/fighting with other kittens.
What should be done to care for my kitten over this period?
- Be careful and gentle when playing with your kitten by not pulling the toys off their mouth
- Avoid brushing their teeth during this time
- Feed them with wet food in order facilitate their ingestion of food without chewing the same. You can also soften their dry kibbles with water.
Keeping your kitten's teeth clean and healthy
Eight out of ten cats over the age of three have tooth and gum problems. This is why it’s a good idea to establish a cleaning routine early on in your pet’s life.
The first step is to get kittens used to the mild handling of the face and teeth. Run a soft brush or rubber fingertip applicator across her teeth regularly so she gets used to the contact and taste.
Once she’s comfortable with this routine, discuss with your vet if she’s ready for brushing. Never brush milk teeth!
When you get the ok, begin by washing your hands and pulling back her lips. Apply the bristles to the teeth at a 45 degree angle and use small circular motions on the outside surfaces. Start slowly and use special pet toothpaste in tasty flavours. Kittens tend to accumulate plaque on the outside of their teeth rather than the inside, so be sure to brush here carefully!
It’s important to get rid of plaque as it hardens to form tartar, irritating the gums and causing gingivitis and loss of teeth. Unclean teeth can have a negative impact on many areas of your kitten’s health as bacteria can even enter the bloodstream and damage the kidneys and other organs.
About the Purina PetCare Advice Centre
The Purina PetCare Advice Centre brings together a team with in-depth knowledge, experience and special interests with the skills to advise about health and nutrition, behaviour, training, socialisation, as well as basic first aid for your cat or dog. Our team of dedicated pet lovers can also provide information about Purina products and services to help you give your pet the best possible care. If you've got a question about any aspect of pet care, then ask the Purina PetCare Advice team.