The Best Cat Toothpastes And Dental Gels

Get our expert recommendations on the best cat toothpastes and how to get the most out of brushing your cat's teeth.

Best Cat Toothpaste Guide @adam_stefanca / unsplash

Bad breath, dental disease, and discomfort are just three of the issues caused by poor oral hygiene in cats. Veterinarians have long recommended regular brushing to cat owners, yet only 27% of owners act on that advice. Thankfully, you seem to be one of them. We’re proud of you.

Brushing your cat’s teeth regularly is the single most effective way to prevent dental disease and the symptoms that come with it. A top cat toothpaste can work wonders to prevent the build up of plaque and tartar; leaving your cat happier and their breath a little fresher.

Finding the best cat toothpaste for you has never been easier. We’re here to talk you through the top options the market has to offer and recommend some trusted favorites.

Best Cat Toothpaste Comparison

ImageNameTypeFlavor
Virbac C.E.T. EnzymaticBest Value For MoneyPastePoultry
Oxyfresh Soothing Dental GelBest Gel ToothpasteGelNone
Vetoquinol Enzadent EnzymaticBest Budget BuyPastePoultry

The Best Cat Toothpaste

Before we get started, it’s worth noting that the vast majority of effective cat toothpastes are enzymatic toothpastes. That means that they rely on the chemical reactions caused by enzymes to create an antibacterial substance which removes bacteria that would otherwise form plaque.

Some gel toothpastes offer a good level of cleaning without the need for brushing. It’s more effective if you brush, of course, but cat dental gels remain a godsend for those who cannot get their cat to cooperate.

If you’re new to brushing, we’d recommend buying a toothpaste & toothbrush kit which will help you get off the mark. For seasoned teeth-brushers, you’ll get more value buying a toothpaste or gel alone. Here are our top picks of the best cat toothpastes for tackling plaque and tartar.

Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Cat Toothpaste

Widely considered the best cat toothpaste available, Virbac C.E.T Enzymatic has a well-earned reputation as the most efficient plaque and tartar inhibitor around.

If you’re looking for the best value for money, then it’s hard to argue the case for any cat toothpaste other than Virbac C.E.T. It provides an effective and appealing solution for cleaning your cat’s teeth for a reasonably low cost.

You can choose from 5 different flavors, each formulated without the inclusion of foaming agents; meaning they’re safe for your cat to swallow.

C.E.T products have an astonishing 25-year-long track record of providing excellent home dental care for cats and dogs alike. It’s our pick of the bunch, and a tried and trusted favorite of our own.

Oxyfresh Soothing Cat Dental Gel

Our favorite flavorless option and our most recommended dental gel. Oxyfresh’s dental gel can be used without brushing, making it one of the easiest ways to improve your cat’s dental health.

It doubles as a soothing first-aid gel, combining aloe vera and chamomile extracts to alleviate swollen gums or existing discomfort.

Tasteless gels are fantastic for those who find their cat’s senses are too alert around food flavored toothpastes. Applying a gel style toothpaste rarely results in much fuss or objection from your kitty.

The ease of application and soothing properties of Oxyfresh dental gel make it our top pick for fussy cats. Those struggling with traditional cat toothpaste should consider it a viable alternative.

Vetoquinol Enzadent Enzymatic Toothpaste for Cats

Vetoquinol Enzadent is a highly effective enzymatic cat toothpaste that makes use of a triple-enzyme powered tartar destroying formula. It’s poultry flavor makes it super appealing to cats, and a great option for combating numerous dental hygiene issues including bad breath.

Enzadent is a superb cat toothpaste that you can typically pick up at a slightly cheaper price than the Virbac C.E.T toothpaste. It’s effectiveness and low price make Vetoquinol Enzadent the best budget cat toothpaste in our humble opinion.

Vetoquinol have been around since 1993, and boast a large range of highly rated pet health products. With this cat toothpaste you can rest assured your cat’s teeth are in safe hands.

Oratene Brushless Enzymatic Dental Gen

Oratene Brushless Dental Gel from Zymox is another two-in-one cat toothpaste gel that soothes and cleans teeth without brushing.

It has no flavor, and is best applied twice daily; morning and night after meals. The carefully formulated toothpaste solution not only inhibits harmful bacteria, but also protects gums and mouth tissue from dryness.

It naturally restores the protective barrier that saliva offers even if your cat suffers with a dry mouth. If you frequently rely on dry cat foods alone, it could offer benefits to oral health that extend far beyond what other good cat toothpastes can.

Virbac C.E.T. Tartar Control Toothpaste

This tartar control Virbac C.E.T cat toothpaste features an even stronger enzyme system designed to tackle even the most stubborn of plaque forming bacteria.

It’s marketed at cats who form plaque rapidly, be it through diet or genetic disposition. A more powerful enzyme system means this is one of the most abrasive cat toothpastes available, but is still perfectly safe to use daily on any cat.

As with other Virbrac C.E.T toothpastes, it doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients and is safe for your cat to swallow. Which is a huge plus given the 5 appealing flavors it’s available in. This is the best toothpaste for cats who struggle with plaque forming rapidly between brushes.

Sentry Petrodex Veterinary Strength Toothpaste

This kit from Sentry Petrodex provides you with the perfect package to start brushing your cat’s teeth. It’s also one of the cheapest options on our list at the time of writing.

Typically available under $10, you’re getting a well known cat toothpaste, a toothbrush designed specifically around cats’ teeth, and a finger toothbrush to help get you started.

The toothpaste itself uses the same enzymatic system found in the Virbac C.E.T toothpastes, but at a much lower cost.

We recommend this kit to owners who are just starting out with brushing, and need a good cat toothpaste and toothbrush kit to get off the mark.

Vetoquinol Enzadent Enzymatic Kit

Vetoquinol’s take on a comprehensive toothpaste kit for cats offers both a toothbrush and a finger-brush, alongside their famous Enzadent toothpaste formula.

There are better value kits out there, but very few come close to the quality offered by Vetoquinol. Their cat toothpaste formula has a proven record of preventing numerous dental health issues, making it one of the most trusted in the industry.

As with other kits, this is perfect for those brushing their cat’s teeth for the first time. The poultry flavor is super appealing to cats of all ages and tastes.

Bluestem Dental Cleaning Kit

Bluestem’s dental cleaning kit is best described as our premium pick. It typically costs a little more than the other cat toothpastes featured here, but you do get an extremely high quality product.

Their Coactiv+ formula is scientifically formulated to break down biofilm that has already formed on teeth, reduce tartar, and freshen breath. The dual-head toothbrush is also pretty sweet, and makes it much easier to catch the insides of your cat’s teeth while brushing.

Bluestem’s product are subject to, and have passed Canada’s rigorous Veterinary Health Products program; which should give you peace of mind about the ingredients.

A Guide to Cat Toothpaste and Brushing

Guide To Cat Toothpaste, Best Flavor

Brushing your cat’s teeth at home greatly improves their dental hygiene and, in turn; their health and happiness. Before putting anything in your cat’s mouth, it’s important to have some understanding of the ingredients. You’ll also want peace of mind that you’re getting an effective product that doesn’t waste your time and money.

In this short guide, we’ll cover the importance of brushing your cat’s teeth as well as the qualities and ingredients you should look for when on the hunt for the best cat toothpaste.

Why Brush Your Cat’s Teeth?

You may be of the opinion that brushing your cat’s teeth is more trouble than it is worth. It’s entirely possible you had childhood pets that lived to ripe old ages without ever having their teeth brushed; but that’s not to say it isn’t important.

Brushing your cat’s teeth and maintaining a high level of dental hygiene is a key part in providing them with a comfortable, fulfilling life.

Cats’ teeth accumulate plaque and tartar just like human teeth. Gingivitis is an issue cats are prone to, it causes gum inflammation, which may make your kitty reluctant to eat and interfere with their nutrition.

Other, much more serious problems can also arise. If not treated, Gingivitis can progress to Periodinitis which leads to irreversible damage the bone and gum structure.

Sadly, it is estimated that between 50% and 90% of cats in the US will develop some form of dental disease by the time they are four years old; a statistic that hopefully drives home the importance of regular dental care.

Veterinarians recommend professional cleaning when necessary, and daily use of a toothbrush at home if possible. Finding a toothpaste your cat enjoys (or even just tolerates) will greatly increase your odds of success when it comes to brushing their teeth.

What are Enzymatic Cat Toothpastes?

A vast majority of the good cat toothpastes are “enzymatic“; meaning they rely on biological catalysts called enzymes to cause reactions that kill bacteria which would eventually harden to form plaque and tartar. You’ll often see cat toothpastes branded with variations of this word, such as enzadent.

Long story short, the reactions that occur in your cat’s mouth when these enzymes are introduced via toothpaste result in the formation of an antibacterial substance. This in turn kills off any bad bacteria before it gets a chance to harden and potentially cause long term damage.

On the off-chance you’re interested in hearing an example of such a reaction: enzymes commonly used in the best cat toothpastes include glucose oxidase (GOx) and lactoperoxidase (LPO). Glucose oxidase oxidizes glucose into glucolactone, a process which results in the conversion of oxygen to hydrogen peroxide. Lactoperoxidate can then oxidize thiocyanate via the hydrogen peroxide formed from the GOx reaction to create an intermediary product that has been proven to display antibacterial properties.

To summarize, enzymatic cat toothpastes are toothpastes that rely on the chemical reactions caused by enzymes to kill off bacteria and stop the formation of plaque. Clever stuff.

Common Ingredients in Cat Toothpastes

As with most products, ingredient lists are daunting. Long-winded scientific names mean very little, and it can be hard to find any meaningful information among words that are a struggle to read, let alone pronounce.

To help out, here’s the run down on a few ingredients you can expect to find in good cat toothpaste:

  • Silica, an abrasive to help remove food and debris from teeth.
  • Sorbitol, a sweetener for flavor that is fine in reasonable doses.
  • Glycerin, a humectant that stops toothpaste drying out.
  • Calcium Carbonate, abrasive and whitening agent proven to remove stains.
  • Sodium Benzoate, to stop bacteria breeding in the paste.
  • Xanthan gum, thickening agent for texture and consistency.

On the flip side, here are a few ingredients that are not ideal in cat toothpaste:

  • Fluoride, toxic when ingested in large enough quantities.
  • Baking Soda, unnecessary and potentially harmful if ingested.
  • Xylitol, sugar substitute, seemingly safe for cats but toxic to dogs, be wary.

It’s impossible to cover every ingredient a toothpaste could possibly contain, but the lists above should be enough give you a general idea of the quality of a cat toothpaste’s ingredients when you look over them.

Of course, the amount of an ingredient often dictates whether or not it is harmful to cats. Sticking to cat toothpastes and gels produced by well known brands and manufacturers is advised.

Why You Should Never Use Human Toothpaste

Using good cat toothpaste instead of human toothpaste

Though there are potentially a good handful of ingredients in human toothpaste that make it unsafe for use on your cat, fluoride is the first that comes to mind.

You’ve no doubt heard that fluoride in toothpaste is harmful to ourselves when ingested, so imagine just how dangerous is to an animal weighing a less than tenth of what we weigh.

The same applies to baking soda and xylitol (which is a sugar alcohol) to name just a few.

So, not only are the ingredients in human toothpastes not safe or suitable for cat toothpaste, they’re potentially dangerous even to humans when ingested in large enough quantities. Thankfully, we know well enough to rinse and spit out toothpaste after we’re done brushing. Cats on the other hand, well, don’t.

Tips for Brushing your Cat’s Teeth

Tips For Brushing With Cat Toothpaste

No matter the age of your cat, it’s a good idea to start brushing their teeth as soon as possible. Kittens are of course easier to manage and much more welcoming, but more often than not, owners are dealing with an adult cat that is reluctant to cooperate.

1. Settle down somewhere comfortable

Cats are far more comfortable with new sensations when they’re in a familiar place that they feel safe in. This could be on your lap, or resting on a piece of furniture they commonly settle on.

You should be comfortable and relaxed too. Any frantic or rushed movements will cause unnecessary anxiety for your cat, and likely set you back a few steps.

2. Start slowly, and with small steps

It makes sense to start with baby steps. When your cat is resting and comfortable, start gently lifting their cheek to expose their teeth for short periods. Over the course of a few days, your cat will become accustomed to the sensation of having their teeth and gums exposed for extended periods.

When the time comes to brush their teeth, it’ll just be the sensation of brushing that’s new, rather than the gums being exposed too. Small steps like this require patience and planning, but they’re sure to pay off in the long run.

3. Use a toothbrush and toothpaste for cats

Human toothbrushes are far too big and awkward to use on a cats mouth. If your cat is apprehensive about something brush-shaped approaching their face, consider trying a finger toothbrush to start out.

You’ll find it much easier to maneuver a toothbrush, so aim to progress from a finger toothbrush to a proper one.

4. Choose a cat toothpaste with flavor

There are two schools of thought on cat toothpaste flavor. Many consider it to be a big help, especially with poultry flavor cat toothpastes that give off a scent that is indistinguishable from food. Others, find that a strong smelling cat toothpaste catches their cat’s attention and makes brushing impossible.

It’s personal preference, but a flavorful cat toothpaste has always gotten a better reception in my experience. It’s something worth keeping in mind if you’re having trouble with your current toothpaste.

5. Stick to brushing the outside surfaces

Trying to brush the inside of your cat’s teeth usually goes exactly how you’d expect; with struggling and scratches. It’ll cause your cat to associate any brushing with an uncomfortable struggle, and make your life ten times more difficult.

Brushing the outside surface is better than nothing and, provided you reach the upper molars and canines, can go a long way to preventing dental disease.

How Often Should I Visit a Vet?

At least once a year. Yearly checkups are the minimum recommended to keep dental health in check. Coupled with brushing at home, cat dental care is something you can keep on top of with relative ease and little cost.

Even the best cat toothpastes will set you back somewhere in the region of $10. That’s a fantastic investment to keep your cat happy and healthy, and also to avoid any unexpected bills for veterinarian dental care.

Our Conclusion

Regular brushing with a top cat toothpaste is the single most effective way to prevent dental disease in cats. It should be a key part of any owner’s grooming routine. Finding a good cat toothpaste is an important ingredient in get the most out of the process as possible.

Be sure to check the ingredient list before purchasing any toothpaste. Scary sounding names don’t always mean trouble, and are especially present in enzymatic toothpastes.

If you come across an ingredient you’re not familiar with, take a moment to look it up online. It won’t take you 30 seconds, and will give you peace of mind.

The key takeaway should be that human toothpastes are not suitable for use as a toothpaste for cats, and that the best cat toothpaste for you could depend heavily on your cat’s preference for texture and flavor.

Hopefully after reading this far, you’re in a much better place to make up your mind.

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