- Providing your cat with dental health-care at home can help to reduce or even avoid expensive dental treatments at the vet.
- Our top pick, Virbac C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews for Cats, appeals to cats, easy to provide on a daily basis, and supplements other dental-care efforts.
You’ve carefully chosen a nutritious food for your cat, make sure it stays active, and keep up-to-date on vaccines and vet appointments. But if you’re not keeping up with your cat’s dental health, your cat could face health issues in the future. Gum disease and tooth decay are just a few issues that can occur, and your cat may need expensive dental cleanings or even tooth extractions if the problems get too bad.
Luckily, there are ways you can get your cat’s dental health under control, right at home. These dental products for cats can help remove tartar, reduce the bacteria that can cause dental issues, and even leave your cat’s breath smelling fresh. Using these products will not eliminate the need for professional dental cleaning, but you may be able to put it off while keeping your cat’s teeth healthy.
A few of these products require you to take the time to get your cat used to their smell and use. Don’t expect that your cat will let you brush its teeth or apply an oral rinse on the first day you try it. Instead, approach training your cat to accept these products as a long-term process. Review these directions on how to train your cat to allow you to handle its mouth and brush its teeth, and then be patient. Some cats – especially younger cats – may take to this quickly, while others will require more time before they’re comfortable.
In addition to the products, you can also buy many different cat foods designed to promote dental health. Because cats all have different nutrition needs, we haven’t included these foods in this guide. Instead, we encourage you to discuss dental-health cat foods with your veterinarian and get their recommendation on a diet suitable for your cat.
While these products have been evaluated on a number of factors, including their effectiveness, they are not a replacement for regular veterinary care and, perhaps, dental work. These products may help to prolong the amount of time in between dental cleanings, but always refer to your veterinarian for information on your cat’s individual dental health needs.
Here are our top picks for the best dental products for cats:
- Best overall: Virbac C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews for Cats
- Best for brushing teeth: Enzadent Toothbrush and Toothpaste Kit
- Best rinse: Dentahex Oral Rinse
- Best dental treats: Feline Greenies Dental Cat Treats
- Best dental toy: Petstages Catnip Chew Mice
Keep scrolling to read more about our top picks.
The best overall
Available in two flavors and highly appealing, Virbac C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews for Cats is an easy, enjoyable way to maintain your cat’s dental health.
Keeping your cat’s teeth healthy doesn’t have to be a struggle, as proven by the Virbac C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews for Cats. These chews are appealing and are available in a fish and poultry flavor (my cats love the latter). Simply give your cat one treat a day and you’ll help to eliminate plaque, keeping your cat’s teeth and gums healthier.
These chews feature a textured exterior that creates an abrasive action against your cat’s teeth as it chews. The abrasion helps to remove plaque from your cat’s teeth, while the chew also contains a “Dual-Enzyme System” that helps to eliminate the bacteria that form plaque. It’s a dental-care method that’s low-stress for you and for your cat.
My two cats adore these chews. One was a little more hesitant than the other when I first introduced them, but he quickly adapted to liking them. I appreciate that they’re made from freeze-dried fish, rather than the fish byproducts you see so often in treats and foods these days. The treats are about the size of a wine cork, and even my smaller cat handles them with ease. Because of the treats’ size, the cats have to really chew at them for a bit, which, I imagine, gives the treats’ scraping action time to work.
The Virbac C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews for Cats have a 3.8 out of five-star Amazon rating, based on more than 1,450 reviews. Dr. Jan Bellows, a veterinary dentist, included these treats in DVM360’s list of 10 veterinary dental products vets can recommend. One Amazon customer writes, “My cats adore these fish-flavored chews. Whenever I even go near the bag that they come in it starts to look like Cirque du Solei for cats. They fly around the furniture squealing and yelping.”
Pros: Available in fish and poultry flavors, features both abrasive action and antiseptic activity to help control plaque
Cons: More expensive than other chews, some cats may not want to eat the chewy exterior which is what offers the dental care advantages
Buy the Virbac C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews for Cats (30 count) on Amazon for $13.97 (poultry) and $18.43 (fish)
The best for brushing teeth
With a finger brush and poultry-flavored toothpaste, the Enzadent Toothbrush and Toothpaste Kit has everything you need to start brushing your cat’s teeth.
One of the most effective ways to decrease plaque and tartar on your cat’s teeth is to brush them. The Enzadent Toothbrush and Toothpaste Kit is designed specifically for cats (and dogs) and includes everything you need to get started. One of the advantages this kit offers is that it features a finger brush, which is soft and flexible and easier to control than a traditional toothbrush. There’s also less risk of accidentally jabbing your cat since the hard handle of a toothbrush can knock against your cat’s teeth or jaw if it struggles.
If your cat is comfortable with having its teeth brushed, you can also use the soft bristles of this finger brush to massage the gums for improved gum health. (This finger brush may be too large for smaller cats, so you may need to purchase a smaller toothbrush for your cat’s comfort.)
This kit includes a non-foaming poultry flavored toothpaste designed to appeal to pets. Its triple enzyme formula effectively cleans teeth. Most importantly, your cat can safely swallow this toothpaste, so there’s no need to worry about rinsing.
The American Kennel Club included this toothpaste in its ranking of the best dog toothpaste on Amazon, writing, “Multispecies households – this is the dog toothpaste for you. This enzymatic toothpaste from Vetoquinal is not only great for dogs but cats as well.”
The Enzadent Toothbrush and Toothpaste Kit has a 3.9 out of 5-star Amazon rating, based on 31 reviews. One customer’s cat quickly took to the toothpaste: “My cat immediately took to the smell of the paste and even let me brush his teeth while in my lap. He fussed a bit … but it cleaned his teeth well. I finally got rid of that cannon breath he’s been using to melt my face off.”
Pros: Finger brush is easy to handle, poultry-flavored toothpaste is appealing to cats, toothpaste can be safely swallowed
Cons: Finger brush may be too large for smaller cats’ mouths
The best rinse
Dentahex Oral Rinse can supplement or serve as an alternative to brushing your cat’s teeth and contains ingredients proven to help control tartar and plaque.
If brushing your cat’s teeth just isn’t working, or if your cat’s teeth are in rough shape so that brushing isn’t currently possible, Dentahex Oral Rinse can supplement or substitute your teeth-brushing efforts. This rinse is formulated for cats and dogs and is an alternative way to support your cat’s dental health. Applying this rinse is low impact, and it’s ideal for cats who won’t tolerate a toothbrush or who need a little extra care in between brushing. Plus, the minty scent can freshen up your cat’s breath.
This rinse is a 0.12% Chlorhexidine solution, which is proven to be effective against plaque. The American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) refers to chlorhexidine as being “the most effective anti-plaque antiseptic.” Chlorhexidine binds to tooth surfaces and then is gradually released into your cat’s mouth. Your cat’s tongue and lips will spread the rinse around. According to the AVDC, chlorhexidine “is safe for pets and rarely causes problems.” To combat the natural bitterness of chlorhexidine, this rinse also includes 0.00001% Zinc Gluconate, which creates an appealing taste and supports both healthy teeth and gums.
This rinse should be applied to your pet’s gumline. I’ve found that my cats were relatively receptive of this rinse, but I could quickly make a mess if I missed my target. I had more success either applying the rinse to my finger, a toothbrush, or a cotton swab.
Dentahex Oral Rinse has a 4.2 out of 5-star Amazon rating, based on 160 reviews. One customer used this product on her older cat with positive results: “My elderly cat has gingivitis but won’t tolerate having his teeth brushed. He is also too old to have his teeth cleaned by the vet because of his age. I put a few drops along the gum line once a day and massage the gums with my finger. On his more stubborn days, I apply it to my finger, then rub it on his gums. It has a minty smell and destroys bad breath … The gum swelling and bad breath have decreased and my cat can eat more comfortably, so I think it is working!”
Pros: Contains chlorhexidine which is proven to combat plaque, easy to apply, can be used to supplement or replace brushing a cat’s teeth
Cons: Some cats don’t like the bitter taste, easy to make a mess when applying
The best dental treats
Available in four flavors, Feline Greenies Dental Cat Treats clean your cat’s teeth as it munches.
My cats go crazy for Feline Greenies Dental Cat Treats. That’s good because the treats offer dental benefits too. My vet had recommended these, and I discovered the chicken flavor is my cats’ favorite, though the treats are also available in catnip, salmon, and tuna flavors.
The key to these treats is their crunchy texture. They are shaped so that they scrape your cat’s teeth as it eats, helping to reduce tartar buildup. They’re low-calorie and each treat is fairly small, so you can feed just a few if you’re trying to keep your cat’s weight down.
Because the treats are small, my large cat seems to inhale them without chewing much, which probably reduces their effectiveness. My smaller cat is much more diligent about her chewing and doesn’t seem to have that issue. While I don’t think these treats would be sufficient as a standalone option to improve your cat’s dental health, they can be easily paired with other products and dental-care efforts.
Feline Greenies Dental Cat Treats have a 4.7 out of 5-star Amazon rating, based on more than 5,000 reviews. One customer wrote that what he thought was a burglar in his home, it was actually his cat trying to get into the box of treats: “He was standing with all four paws, and all 16 of his furry pounds, on top of this box of Greenies, and pounding on the lid, in a (successful) effort to get it to come off. As I watched, he delicately inserted one of his paws into the box and fished out a treat, ate it, started to purr, and dove in after some more.”
Pros: Small size is ideal for cats who need weight management, scrapes tartar from cat’s teeth as it eats, available in four flavors
Cons: Enthusiastic cats may bolt down the treat without chewing
The best dental toy
Petstages Catnip Chew Mice is full of appealing catnip and help to remove tartar and massage your cat’s gums as it chews.
Even playtime can offer your cats dental health benefits, thanks to the creative design of the Petstages Catnip Chew Mice cat toy that is filled with catnip, making it extra appealing to cats. The soft body is ideal for chewing. and the netting helps to scrape a cat’s teeth, removing tartar and massaging its gums as it plays.
My cats are very enthusiastic about toys in general, and they took to these right away. Each mouse is small and conveniently sized for batting across the floor, but it also has a way of disappearing under the couch or fridge pretty quickly, too. Tip? Buy a couple packages now, because you’ll find yourself ordering more pretty quickly. I think I’m up to six of these toys, but at least I can manage to keep a few of them around until I have time to dig out the lost ones. While the catnip is appealing when the toys are new, I “refresh” them occasionally by rolling older toys in loose catnip.
The Petstages Catnip Chew Mice has a 4.3 out of 5-star Amazon rating, based on 374 reviews. This customer wrote:: “Our cat loves these so much. We received them as a gift and she went nuts for them. It is one of the few toys she will play with by herself. She loves to throw them into the air and chase after them, to carry them around the house, and even just chew on the things. At first, I didn’t think much of the claim that they were good for dental health when chewed, but she seems to love the feeling of chewing on these things!”
The Petstages Catnip Chew Mice comes in packs of one, two, or four.
Pros: Catnip adds extra appeal, netting scrapes off soft tartar and massages gums during play
Cons: Catnip needs a refresher after a few months, toys are small so they disappear easily