Natural Remedies to Clean a Cat's Teeth

By Heidi Wiesenfelder

Our pet cats usually have a lifestyle quite different from that of their wild cat ancestors and relatives. Because of their diet and environment, pet cats are prone to tooth decay, tartar buildup and periodontal disease. While our cats are unlikely to start brushing their own teeth as we do, we can take steps to help keep their teeth clean and their gums healthy.

Raw Bones

In nature, cats eat whole raw prey, bones and all. Cats that eat a diet of mainly canned commercial food typically do not get any of the benefits of chewing that their wild counterparts obtain. Kibble provides more benefit than canned food, but does not approach the level of dental benefit that eating raw bones provides. Whether you feed a commercial diet or a homemade raw or cooked diet, be sure to include raw bones for your cat to promote dental health. Chicken necks or turkey necks are a good option, and can be found at most grocery stores or butchers. Do not cook the bones--cooked bones can splinter and harm your pet.

Sangre de Drago

Sangre de drago, also called sangre de grado, is the sap of a tree that grows in the Amazon rainforest. The substance is very high in a type of antioxidant called proanthocyanidins, and got its name because of its resemblance to blood. Holistic veterinarians and animal health practitioners have used it successfully with hundreds of dogs and cats to remove plaque and tartar and increase gum health. Simply apply it to your cat's teeth and gums once or twice a day for a week to ten days. Users find that tartar buildup softens and either falls off on its own or can be removed easily with a brush. Use the substance every month or so to keep teeth clean.

Brush Your Cat's Teeth

Use a special kitty toothbrush or even a piece of gauze on your finger to brush your cat's teeth. You can use water with baking soda or purchase toothpaste made especially for cats from companies such as Drs. Foster and Smith or at your local pet store. Do not use toothpaste intended for humans, which can harm your cat. Brush your cat's teeth several times a week. You can add a little sangre de drago to the toothbrush for added benefit.