While most of us wouldn't dream of going to bed in the evening or head out to work first thing without brushing our teeth, when it comes to our cats' dental health many owners are rather more lax.

However, with an estimated eight in ten cats over the age of three suffering from tooth and gum problems, it is essential that all cat owners take steps to look after their furry friend's pearly whites.

The first consideration when taking care of you cat's teeth is their diet. In general dry cat food is better for your pet's teeth as it is abrasive so will work to keep a cat's gnashers sharp and clean.

Many owners who are concerned about their feline's oral health will opt for products designed specifically to prevent dental disease, such as Hill's cat food.

It is also possible to buy dental care products such as chews, supplements and gels that can be mixed into food, but always check with your vet before feeding your cat anything new or switching their diet.

If your cat will allow you and doesn't become distressed by the process, the other key element to feline oral health is tooth brushing.

This should be done regularly but only once your cat has their adult teeth and it is important to always use a toothpaste specifically designed for felines, which come in tasty flavours such as malt and chicken.

Start by allowing your pet to lick the toothpaste and then touch their teeth and mouth with the toothbrush to get them used to the process.

And once your cat is comfortable being handled in this way, start to gently brush their teeth by applying the bristles at a 45-degree angle so that it reaches the tooth surface and just below the gum line.

Initially try brushing for around ten seconds before rewarding your cat but once they become acclimatised to the process you can build the time up gradually.

Written by: Hannah