What are the types of cat toothpaste?  

The type of toothpaste mostly depends on the components used. There are two main options available:

  • Enzyme-based toothpastes are more aggressive: they eliminate plaque build-up efficiently. Such toothpaste is recommended when a cat already has dental problems, and they should be addressed without delay. When using enzyme paste, you don’t have to make the brushing procedure too long – a couple of minutes will be enough for proper cleaning. Besides, enzymes continue removing bacteria and protecting enamel from plaque even when the process is over.
  • CET enzymatic toothpaste typically uses two enzymes – glucose oxidase and lactoperoxidase – they have antibacterial properties and neutralize odors. Besides, they are available in a large number of flavors. 
  • Natural toothpastes are not as strong as enzymatic ones, but they are safer. You don’t have to worry about your pet swallowing it – the components are harmless. Note that the use of natural paste means you have to brush the cat’s teeth longer. 
  • Gel is not always used with a brush – some cat owners let their pets lick the substance. It will protect the enamel against plaque and bacteria throughout the day.
  • Chemical-based products may contain potentially harmful components, for example, xylitol. When swallowed, it can affect the cat’s digestion and well-being. Such options are rare, but you should always read content and check every component. 

It goes without mentioning the kits, which include toothpaste and toothbrushes. Most often, a set has a plastic brush: it’s bent for reaching the far-off teeth easier. Rubber finger brushes are recommended for kittens. 

Aside from pastes, water additives are used. They are put into cat’s drinking water and stay absolutely unnoticeable thanks to the absence of flavor. Additives protect teeth from bacteria and keep plaque at bay. Such products are highly recommended for both the prevention and treatment of gingivitis and other issues.

Which ingredients should I look for when buying a cat toothpaste? 

It depends on the effect you need. As we have mentioned, enzymes are more powerful in combating bacteria and plaque. Note that not all enzymes form an antibacterial substance – they are not equally efficient. Which components to look for?

  • Glucose oxidase (GOx) oxidizes glucose which makes it turn into hydrogen peroxide and clean teeth;
  • Lactoperoxidate (LPO) thiocyanate via the hydrogen peroxide formed from the GOx reaction to create an intermediary product – it has been proved to fight against bacteria.

Other hydrogen-producing enzymes are also highly recommended.

If you’re in search of a natural safe cat toothpaste, note that it can include:

  • Silica is an abrasive substance that removes plaque and resides of food from teeth;
  • Sorbitol is a sweetener that can slightly improve paste flavor;
  • Glycerin saturates toothpaste with moisture preventing drying out;
  • Calcium Carbonate is an abrasive and whitening agent that removes spots and stains from teeth;
  • Sodium Benzoate prevents bacteria spreading in the paste;
  • Xanthan gum is a thickening substance for optimal texture and consistency.

Some ingredients might be potentially hazardous for pets. The following components should be avoided:

  • Fluoride is toxic when consumed in large quantities, this is why it’s not usually added in pet pastes;
  • Baking Soda does not play many roles in cleaning but when consumed in large quantities may be poisonous 
  • Xylitol, one of the most widespread sugar substitutes, can be toxic for dogs, but its danger for cats is arguable. It’s often added to toothpaste, so it’s up to you to decide whether you want your pet to consume it.

Further reading:

  1. Foods that are toxic to cats
  2. Plants that are toxic to cats

Which flavors are available? 

When it comes to flavors, the choice is not so wide, but it’s more than enough for you to figure out an optimal variant for your beloved pet.

There are three typical flavors available:

  • Meat and seafood are the most preferable variant since pets are attracted by this smell and taste, and let owners brush their teeth more readily. However, it means your pet will be tempted to swallow such paste, so make sure it doesn’t contain dangerous chemicals.
  • Mint, vanilla, and other sweet flavors are very specific – that’s not what I offer for finicky cats. Do not rush to buy a large tube, test such toothpaste and decide whether your pet likes it.
  • Flavorless pastes are pretty rare, but should be used when none of both options work. Since the cat does not feel the taste of the substance, it might be embarrassed by the process of brushing teeth. It will take some time for an animal to get used to it. 


What would be considered negative effects from cat toothpaste?

If you use appropriate products, your cat will be absolutely safe. However, if the paste has some dangerous chemicals, in the long term, it might cause digestion problems. Never use human toothpaste for a cat: fluoride can make a pet ill when digested in large quantities. 

Why can’t you use regular toothpaste for a cat?

Many human kinds of toothpaste contain fluoride, detergents, and artificial sweeteners like xylitol: all of them are potentially dangerous for a cat’s health. When digested in large quantities, they can cause stomach upset and illness in pets. It goes without mentioning that a strong mint flavor will irritate a cat’s mouth. 

Which toothpaste is best for cats with stomatitis?

If your cat has serious dental issues, opt for enzymatic toothpastes. They are more efficient than all-natural alternatives because enzymes help to fight bacteria during and after brushing. They will create a natural barrier on the enamel to keep plaque at bay. If the inflammation is too serious, you can also try herbal toothpastes that reduce swelling and accelerate healing.

How effective is cat toothpaste?

As I’ve mentioned, regular tooth brushing kills about 70% of bacteria in the cat’s mouth, so it’s a great measure of prevention. By brushing your cat’s teeth every day or 3-5 times a week, you can avoid gingivitis and related diseases with the possibility of 90%. 

How much cat toothpaste to use?

Since the cat’s teeth are pretty small, you don’t need to use much toothpaste: a small bean will be enough. Also, you can let your cat lick a small amount of paste from your finger – they do it more readily. 

Can cat toothpaste cause diarrhea?

Yes, diarrhea can be caused by eating too much toothpaste that contains dangerous chemicals like fluoride and xylitol. When consumed in the long term and large quantities, they can cause digestion disorders, including diarrhea. No matter which pet toothpaste you use, store it out of the cat’s reach. 


To sum it up, cat tooth brushing is important for preserving dental health: it not only keeps the pet’s breath fresh, but also protects against plaque, oral tumors and inflammations, and other serious outcomes. The market offers an enormous amount of cat toothpaste, but they are not equally safe and suitable for pets. There is a large choice of all-natural solutions with oils and extracts – they can be used without limits on a daily basis. If your cat has already acquired a dental disease like stomatitis and dental fraction, I recommend using an enzymatic toothpaste: it will remove plaque and provide a long-lasting effect.

Alternatively, you can use a homemade toothpaste if your pet is averted by all the options you offer, or there are specific health needs. I will cover this topic in detail a bit later.

Please, note that cats should be trained for tooth brushing: the later you start, the steeper will be a learning curve. It’s better to start cleaning kitten’s teeth once it turns 2-3 months old: this way, your pet will get used to the procedure without problems. 

I am Claudine, a College of Veterinary Medicine alumni and cat health & lifestyle specialist. In this blog, I share my personal experience and recommendations on improving cat’s diet, behavior, and both physical and psychological state.

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