Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide

Best Cat Food for Dental Health

Brushing your cat’s teeth regularly is definitely the best way to prevent dental problems, but it isn’t the only way. Cat owners know that it’s no walk in the park to bathe one’s cat, more so to brush his teeth every day.

Good thing that feeding your feline friend with the best cat food for dental health could also help in promoting good oral hygiene and preventing dental issues.

Giving your cat a complete and balanced diet is one thing. However, it’s also another thing to give him dental foods or cat foods with added features that could help prevent and reduce plaque and tartar and eliminate bad breath.

The first sign of dental problems caused by poor oral hygiene is the buildup of dental plaque, which, if not removed, can harden to form tartar.

This can negatively affect the health of your cat’s teeth and gums, eventually causing tooth decay, gum inflammation, bad breath, and oral diseases.

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What to Look for When Buying Dental Health Cat Food

Giving your cat a varied diet consisting of wet food and soft dry cat food is the best way to provide him with balanced nutrition while ensuring that his dental health is also being taken care of.

Wet cat foods help felines with hydration, not to mention that cats love the taste and moisture of meat from their diet.

However, if your cat is solely on wet canned food, then, he can’t use his teeth and jaws the way they are meant to be.

Soft wet food provides little or no abrasive action against the teeth, which is supposed to help in brushing off food debris and plaque.

This results in plaque and tartar buildup, which can eventually lead to gingivitis, tooth loss, and other dental issues.

A piece of kibble or dry cat food, on the other hand, helps scrub teeth of food debris and dental plaques. The shape and texture of kibbles also encourage chewing that can help strengthen your cat’s jaws.

There are also special diets, as well as veterinary diets that are specially formulated to promote cat dental health. And whatever life stage your feline buddies are – kittens, adult, and senior cats – there is a right dry and wet cat food for them.

As always, when you are changing or adding something into your cat’s diet, you should do it gradually to prevent digestive issues and so you can closely monitor your cat’s reaction to his new food.

It is also best if you can consult your vet about it, especially if your cat has an underlying health condition.

Generally, when choosing a food, you should first consider your cat’s overall health and safety. As an obligate carnivore, a cat needs a diet that is rich in high-quality protein to support his growth and help him maintain a healthy weight.

However, you should be mindful whether or not your cat is allergic to a certain animal or plant-based proteins, such as chicken, fish, beef, corn gluten meal, wheat, soybeans, etc.

You should also look for cat foods that don’t contain additives and those that are enriched with vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients.

Older cats can’t process their food as efficiently as younger cats. Hence, you should look for a food that contains easily digestible fibers, especially if you have a senior cat. Foods that are rich in moisture are also more chewable and digestible.

And of course, it helps to look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) Seal of Acceptance to recognize products that were clinically proven to reduce plaque and/or tartar.

However, if a product doesn’t have a VOHC seal it does not mean that it isn’t good for what it is intended for.

In this case, you can rely on your best judgment about the ingredients of such cat food, or better yet ask your vet for advice or recommendation. On the other hand, one should also not totally rely on VOHC-accepted cat food.

As mentioned earlier, the prevention and control of oral disease require a multi-modal approach –which includes a visit to the vet regularly, your cat’s routine, dental hygiene, and so on.

Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 1

Best Cat Food for Dental Health

IMAGE PRODUCT  
Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 2
Hill's Science Diet Oral Care
  • Interlocking fiber technology
  • Made from natural ingredients
  • Help reduce plaque and tartar build-up
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Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 3
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Dental
  • Accepted by the VOHC
  • A veterinary-exclusive formula
  • Clinically proven to reduce plaque buildup
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Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 4
Hill's Prescription Diet t/d Dental Care Chicken Flavor
  • Help control the oral bacteria found in plaque
  • Especially formulated to keep your cat's teeth clean
  • Fights bacteria-laden plaque to promote overall health
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Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 5
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets DH Dental Health Formula
  • Great-tasting dry cat food for dental health
  • Crafted in collaboration with nutritionists, researchers and veterinarians
  • Formulated to help significantly reduce the build-up of tooth tartar and plaque
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Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 6
Royal Canin Feline Care Nutrition Oral Care
  • Can help reduce the formation of plaque
  • Great addition to a daily routine to maintain oral health
  • Unique kibble shape and texture promotes a brushing effect
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Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 7
Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend with Real Chicken
  • Veterinarian recommended formula
  • Made with real chicken as the #1 ingredient
  • Fun-shaped kibble has a crunchy texture that helps scrub tartar with every bite
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Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 8
Iams ProActive Health Healthy Senior
  • Dry cat food for senior cats
  • With chicken as the first ingredient
  • The crunchy kibble texture helps reduce plaque buildup
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Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 9
Purina Pro Plan Kitten Chicken & Rice Formula
  • Real chicken is the #1 ingredient
  • Specially designed to help your kitten thrive
  • Includes calcium and phosphorus—essential minerals for teeth and bone health
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Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 10
  1. Hill's Science Diet Oral Care
  2. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Dental
  3. Hill's Prescription Diet t/d Dental Care Chicken Flavor
  4. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets DH Dental Health Formula
  5. Royal Canin Feline Care Nutrition Oral Care
  6. Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend with Real Chicken
  7. Iams ProActive Health Healthy Senior
  8. Purina Pro Plan Kitten Chicken & Rice Formula

1. Hill's Science Diet Adult Oral Care

First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Brown Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Fat, Powdered Cellulose

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 11
Made with wholesome ingredients such as savory chicken, this nourishing recipe is balanced to meet your pet’s needs, reduce plaque and tartar and freshen breath.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 29%
Crude Fat 17.5%
Crude Fiber 10%

Your four-legged furry buddy deserves a great-tasting diet that doesn’t only give him complete and balanced nutrition but also takes good care of his teeth with its advanced oral care benefits.

And that’s why Hill’s Science Diet Adult Oral Care is on top of our list because it’s not just a nourishing recipe, but it is also clinically proven to reduce plaque and tartar buildup as evidenced by its VOHC Seal of Approval.

This premium dental cat food uses interlocking fiber technology that efficiently cleans teeth and freshens your cat’s breath.

This recipe is also packed with the ideal blend of antioxidants and vitamins to support your cat’s immune system and overall health.

Manufactured in the USA using natural high-quality ingredients, this is a complete and balanced diet for adult cats with chicken as its first ingredient. It is also free from artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Also Read: Hill's Science Diet Cat Food Reviews

2. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Dental

First 5 ingredients: Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice, Corn, Brown Rice, Corn Gluten Meal

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 12
It contains calcium and phosphorus to help support healthy teeth and the uniquely designed kibble size and shape encourages chewing, which creates a tooth-brushing effect to help reduce tartar buildup.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 27%
Crude Fat 13%
Crude Fiber 7.7%

Whether your cat has bad teeth or not, he will definitely benefit from veterinary-exclusive dry cat food, such as the Royal Canine Dental Diet.

This dry cat food is clinically proven and accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) to efficiently help control plaque buildup and tartar formation.

It features uniquely designed kibble size and shape, which further adds to the food’s effectiveness in keeping your cat’s mouth clean, healthy, and smelling fresh all the time.

Each time your cat chews, the kibbles create a teeth brushing effect, which helps brush off food debris and bacteria-laden dental plaques that are just seated above the gum line.

Plus, aside from being a dental diet, this cat food is also packed with an exclusive blend of dietary fibers, including psyllium, which helps prevent the accumulation of hairballs.

And these fibers act by stimulating your cat’s gut to eliminate the hair that he swallows each time he licks himself or the other cats in your household.

Additionally, this veterinary diet has the exclusive S/O index, which means that it is also helpful in the prevention of urinary crystals.

It does this by creating an environment that is not conducive to the development of calcium oxalate and struvite crystals in the bladder.

This added feature is extremely important since as mentioned earlier, oral health issues are also connected to the development of systemic problems, such as acute and chronic kidney diseases.

Also Read: Royal Canin Cat Food Reviews

3. Hill's Prescription Diet t/d Dental Care Chicken Flavor

First 5 ingredients: Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Corn, Powdered Cellulose

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 13
Unique kibble shape and size and special fiber matrix technology makes this a recipe your cat will love. Complete and balanced nutrition recommended for lifelong feeding of adult cats.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 30%
Crude Fat 14%
Crude Fiber 10.5%

Some pet parents might put less attention to their cats’ teeth, but in reality, dental care should be given equal consideration because poor oral health can take a toll on a cat’s overall health eventually.

Studies have shown that oral health issues can affect a cat’s general health by altering the functions of his heart, kidneys, and metabolic systems.

Hence, we couldn’t emphasize enough the importance of brushing your cat’s teeth and providing him with a high-quality dental diet that can help in reducing plaque and preventing tartar formation. And that’s precisely what Hill’s Prescription Diet t/d Dental Care Food can offer.

This veterinary diet is VOHC – accepted for the control of plaque and tartar, and it provides your cat with complete and balanced nutrition, which makes it an ideal lifelong diet for your furry buddy.

However, if you want to start your cat on this diet, you should first get authorization from your vet.

4. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Dental Health Formula

First 5 ingredients: Ground Yellow Corn, Poultry By-Product Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Liver Flavor, Animal Fat Preserved With Mixed-Tocopherols

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 14
This great-tasting dry food is specially formulated to help significantly reduce the build-up of tooth tartar and plaque in cats. This dry cat food is paw-fect for all breeds of cats in any stage of life.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 34%
Crude Fat 12%
Crude Fiber 6%

Once your cat feels the crunch of Purina’s tasty Pro Plan Veterinary Diet for Feline Dental Health, then, he won’t go a day without gleaming in delight with his healthier pearly white teeth.

This diet is specially formulated by veterinarians, nutritionists, and researchers, and it features the VOHC Seal of Acceptance for helping to control the buildup of plaque and tartar.

This high-protein dental cat food is also fortified with vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients, such as calcium, and phosphorus for stronger teeth and bones, taurine for eye health, and glucosamine for joint support and mobility.

As a veterinary diet, you do need to ask your vet for authorization to purchase this dry cat food either online or in stores nationwide.

Also Read: Purina Pro Plan Cat Food Reviews

5. Royal Canin Feline Care Nutrition Oral Care

First 5 ingredients: Chicken Meal, Corn, Brewers Rice, Chicken Fat, Wheat Gluten, Pea Fiber

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 15
Complete and balanced nutrition for cats ages 1 to 10 years old. This kibble is a great addition to a daily routine to maintain oral health.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 28%
Crude Fat 13%
Crude Fiber 6.7%

Don’t let your cats suffer from their sensitivities, may it be digestive, skin, or dental issues or sensitivities.

That’s why when choosing the right food for your adult cat, it is important to consider not just his life stage, but also his lifestyle, activity level, food allergies, and special needs.

Many cats, especially as they age, start to have dental problems, which can often manifest through foul-smelling breath.

Royal Canine Feline Care Nutrition Oral Care is specially formulated to meet the needs of cats with dental sensitivities, thereby preventing the buildup of plaque and tartar, and other dental problems.

Brushing your cat’s teeth every day is the most effective way to promote dental health. However, for older cats who grew up not accustomed to this habit, saying that it is difficult would be an understatement.

That is why, dental diet such as this, helps a lot by creating a brushing effect on the teeth, which wipes food debris and plaques before they harden and form tartar.

Additionally, the unique size and shape of the kibbles also help in slowing down mealtime, which can help prevent indigestion.

This recipe also contains dietary fiber that stimulates the intestine to pass out hairballs, thereby preventing intestinal obstruction and other health issues.

6. Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend with Real Chicken

First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Rice Flour, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal (Source Of Glucosamine), Beef Fat

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 16
Made with real chicken as the first ingredient for high-quality lean protein to support healthy muscles and energy of your adult cat.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 34%
Crude Fat 13%
Crude Fiber 2%

If you are looking for affordable, yet highly nutritious and effective cat food for dental health, then, Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend is your best option.

This diet offers your cat the best of both worlds – the crunch of kibbles and the meaty and moisture-filled morsels of real chicken meat.

Each bite creates an explosion of flavor inside your cat’s mouth from the kibbles and the meaty tender morsels.

Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend is proudly made in Purina-owned facilities in the USA using chicken as the first ingredient, and it is devoid of fillers.

So, each bite is packed with purposeful ingredients – like essential vitamins, minerals, and beneficial nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, omega-6 fatty acids, and taurine.

Your cat’s overall health is protected with this nutrient-dense diet. And he will definitely love the fun-shaped and crunchy kibbles, which also help to scrub plaque and tartar off his teeth with every feisty bite.

Also Read: Purina One Cat Food Reviews

7. Iams ProActive Health Healthy Senior

First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal (Source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Corn Grits, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Dried Plain Beet Pulp

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 17
Scrumptious chicken is the first ingredient in this recipe, plus it’s formulated with essential nutrients like calcium and phosphorus to nourish strong bones and joints.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 34%
Crude Fat 17%
Crude Fiber 3%

As cats start to age, their overall health also deteriorates, and you can expect to have frequent visits to the vet due to dental problems.

Hence, a healthy diet that is specially made to meet the nutritional demands of their age is very important.

Iams ProActive Health Senior Cat Food is crafted with senior cats in mind, and it is made in the USA using chicken as the first ingredient.

Aside from its high-protein content, this diet is loaded with essential nutrients that are even more crucial during this stage – and these include calcium, phosphorus, and glucosamine chondroitin sulfate for stronger bones, teeth, and joints, as well as taurine for better vision.

Additionally, this premium senior cat food is fortified with vitamin E and essential fatty acids to support your cat’s immune system, and keep his coat healthy and silky despite his age.

This recipe also contains L-carnitine to help your cat keep a healthy weight, which becomes more challenging as felines age due to their decreased activity level.

This diet is paw-rfect for your senior cat, as it doesn’t only give him a tasty meal that will make him purr with delight, but its unique kibbles also help in cleaning his teeth and reducing plaque and tartar buildup.

Also Read: Iams Cat Food Reviews

8. Purina Pro Plan Kitten Chicken & Rice Formula

First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Beef Fat Preserved With Mixed-tocopherols, Soybean Meal

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 18
This formula includes DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, which helps nourish brain and vision development. It is also rich in antioxidants to help support a kitten's developing immune system.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 42%
Crude Fat 19%
Crude Fiber 2.5%

Disclaimer: This item used to be known as Purina Pro Plan FOCUS. As this item transitions, you may receive either bag.

Nourish your kitten with a tasty and nutrient-dense meal made especially for his age, so he can thrive and jive all day every day the way a kitten should be.

Feel free to spoil your feline friend if you must, as long as it is for your cat’s health and wellness. And no matter what, don’t forget to pay attention to his dental health.

Some may say that dental care isn’t that important, but in reality, it’s the complete opposite.

This early stage is the perfect time to make your cat get used to good dental hygiene and nutrition, which includes daily brushing of his teeth and the incorporation of an age-appropriate dental diet.

Purina Pro Plan Kitten Chicken & Rice Formula is specially made for kittens with real chicken meat, along with rice, corn gluten meal, and chicken by product meal to complete its first four ingredients.

This formula contains DHA, and omega-3 fatty acids, which help nourish your cat’s brain development, vision, and heart health.

It is also rich in antioxidants to promote your cat’s immune health, omega-6 fatty acids to nourish his skin and coat, and live probiotics for good digestion.

What’s more – this dental diet won’t be complete without its calcium and phosphorus content, which help keep your cat’s teeth strong and healthy.

Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 19

Bonus Reviews:

Best Toothpaste for Cats: Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Dog & Cat Poultry Flavor

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 20
Formulated specially for pets, they contain no foaming agents and are meant to be swallowed. Flavors are well accepted by pets and make brushing easy.

It’s not a secret that the best dental care is made up of daily brushing, and a dental diet that is loaded with the right nutrients and features unique kibble shape and size to support oral health.

You can start with our list above for your cat’s dental dry cat food. And for the best cat toothpaste, we’d suggest one that is manufactured by Virbac, the #1 brand recommended by veterinary professionals.

Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Cat & Dog Toothpaste features a unique dual-enzyme system that is more abrasive in keeping your cat’s teeth clean, and more efficient in preventing the formation of plaque before it even develops into tartar.

This toothpaste doesn’t contain foaming agents, so it’s perfectly safe when swallowed by your cat. And it also comes in five tasty flavors – poultry, vanilla-mint, seafood, beef, and malt – that your cat will surely love.

Best Dental Treats for Cats: Greenies Feline Oven Roasted Chicken Flavor

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 21
Designed to help clean teeth, reduce tartar buildup and freshen your cat’s breath, these crunchy treats are made with natural ingredients plus added vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

You are right – your cat’s treats can be beneficial, too, for his dental health. And if you are looking for the best dental treat in the market today, cats and satisfied pet parents would agree that Greenies Feline Oven Roasted Chicken Flavor is the one to beat.

These crunchy and tasty treats are specially formulated to help clean your cat’s teeth and reduce the buildup of dental plaques and tartar.

Keeping these bacteria-laden plaques away is one sure way to ensure that your cat’s mouth stays healthy and smelling fresh all the time.

Greenies Feline Dental Treats is also a nutritionally complete and balanced treat for adult cats, and it is enriched with added vitamins, minerals, and important nutrients.

What’s more, these chewy and tasty treats are also free from artificial preservatives or flavors, and each treat only contains 2 calories. Hence, your cat can enjoy his treats while his teeth are being cleansed and his weight guarded.

Also Read: Best Cat Toothpaste Reviews

FAQs About Your Cat’s Oral Health

What Are the Signs That Your Cat May Have a Dental Disease?

Dental disease can affect cats regardless of age. That is why, as pet parents, we should be vigilant of the signs that indicate the presence of underlying medical or dental issues.

Below are some of the signs that you should watch out for:

  • Bad breath
  • Discoloration of teeth and the obvious presence of plaque and tartar
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty of eating
  • Weight loss
  • Loose, or missing tooth or teeth
  • Red, or swollen gums
  • Pawing at the teeth or mouth
Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 10

What Are the Risk Factors for Dental Diseases in Cats?

Because brushing is a crucial part of good dental health, it is also logical that one of the risk factors (or even the most common risk factor) for dental diseases in cats is poor dental hygiene.

Other factors that affect the development of dental diseases in cats include:

  • Diet
  • Tooth alignment
  • Retained deciduous teeth
  • Frequent chewing on hard objects or synthetic toys
  • Chronic medical conditions, such as Diabetes
  • Infectious diseases, such as the feline immunodeficiency virus, which can cause immunosuppression and predispose cats to gingivitis, and other periodontal diseases.
  • Genetics
  • The chemistry inside the cat’s mouth – the bacteria and other changes inside his mouth can affect his chances of getting dental problems
Best Cat Food for Dental Health: A Comprehensive Guide 23

Final Thoughts

Your cat’s dental health is inarguably as important as the other systems in his body. And as studies have shown, poor oral health is also associated with systemic health problems.

For instance, the lack of appetite caused by dental issues can lead to malnutrition and other problems. And the lack of fluid intake which can also be attributed to an underlying dental issue can also put a cat at risk for kidney problems, and the list goes on.

Hence, no matter how hard it can be at first, you should make it a habit to brush your cat’s teeth, or at least swipe an abrasive cat toothpaste along his gum line.

And of course, good dental hygiene would even be more successful when accompanied by good dental nutrition.

So, don’t hesitate to ask your vet for recommendations, and feel free to ask him about the best cat foods for dental health that we’ve included in this list.

What can I feed my cat with dental disease?

Cats flourish on moisture-rich grain-free diets, such as high-quality canned, raw and freeze-dried diets. Raw diets would typically be an ideal choice, based strictly on the best nutritional choices, but there is no single diet that is right for all cats. Treats can help fight off your cat's dental issues.

How can I clean my cats teeth naturally?

There are various ways you can do some cat teeth cleaning at home naturally and without the effort of brushing. These include changing their diet or food intake, using tools of natural dental care for cats such as gels, water additives, and dental chews or toys, or simply giving them a bone to chew on.

Does dry food help cats teeth?

Yes, some kibbles are designed to improve cat's dental health. In the wild, cats clean their teeth while ripping meat off bones.

What can I use to clean my cat's teeth?

Fluoride-free toothpaste designed for cats is readily available and is often flavored with beef or chicken. You can brush your cat's teeth with either sterile gauze strips or a rubber toothbrush or finger brush that's especially designed for cats.

  • September 17, 2021
Mary Nielsen
 

A huge animal lover, born and raised around dogs, cats, chickens... Self-educated pet care nerd. Currently parent of three adopted cats and one small mutt. Animal adoption advocate. Loves a good book (about animals) and playing the piano.