are cats’ mouths cleaner than humans

It is true that the bacteria in a cat’s mouth is quite similar to that of humans. As such, at any point in time, a cat’s mouth may be no dirtier than ours. However, cats contain certain other bacteria in their mouths, which cause gum disease. As predators, they also eat animals and insects that may harbor diseases.

Should You Brush Your Cat’s Teeth?

are cats mouths cleaner than humans

A lot of pet owners are unsure about the necessity of brushing their cat’s teeth. The truth is that your cat may have dental problems even though their mouth appears to be relatively clean. Brushing your cat’s teeth is advised at least three times a week, if not every day, to reduce plaque and avoid the buildup of tartar. Not only that, but you also can’t use any old toothpaste on your cat’s teeth.

Your cat may be harmed by many human toothpastes, especially if they swallow any of the ingredients. Therefore, find out from your veterinarian what the best cat toothpaste is to use. They can teach you how to brush your cat’s teeth, help them get in the habit of doing it on a regular basis, look for any gum or tooth issues in their mouth, and recommend the best cat toothpaste and tools to do the job correctly.

Myth: Pet Mouths Are Cleaner Than Human Mouths

Brushing and flossing lowers the amount of bacteria in your mouth, just as your dentist has always advised. Thus, the overall amount of bacteria in your mouth will be lower unless you brush your pet’s teeth more often than you brush your own.

As part of her voluntary mentoring of high school students, one of the other veterinarians at my place of employment recently carried out a study. They took samples of bacteria from cats’ and dogs’ healthy mouths. After that, they extracted any unhealthy teeth and gave the dogs and cats dental cleanings. After cleaning, they resampled the pets’ mouths. The mouths were extremely unclean before the cleanings, and a variety of bacteria developed. After, the mouths were much healthier. Therefore, if you allow your dog to lick you, at the very least, brush and regularly clean their mouth.

Of course, you may say that not all bacteria is equal, and you would be correct. There are over 600 types of bacteria known to live in the mouths of humans and dogs (similar information isn’t available for cats yet). Researchers are still trying to learn about each type. The types of bacteria are dependent on many factors, including genetics, diet, and oral hygiene routine. Some bacteria promotes a healthy mouth while other types produce acid that destroys tooth enamel. Which leads to our next myth.

Myth: Dog Saliva Can Help Heal Wounds

Normal mouth bacteria are not the same across species. Nor are they the same between mouth and skin in the same species. When dogs lick a wound, it’s actually the physical act of removing dead tissue and environmental bacteria that does the healing. It is a bad idea to let your dog lick your open wound. The risk of infection from mouth bacteria is greater than any benefit. If you have a wound, wash it well and keep it protected from the environment. Let your pet help you heal with cuddles instead.

The type of bacteria in a dog’s mouth is not the same kind that lives on human skin. This is also true for cats. Cat mouths are notoriously dirty and their bite can cause serious infections—both in humans and other cats. If you get bit by a cat, clean the wound thoroughly and seek medical attention. If your cat gets in a fight with another cat, have a veterinarian check him or her over for wounds. Cats’ sharp teeth deposit bacteria deep into skin where it festers and infection can spread.

The good news: If you are healthy, regular interaction with your pets is not only safe but can actually improve your health. In general, it is a good idea to wash your hands after playing with your pet, especially before cooking or eating.

FAQ

Do cats have the cleanest saliva?

Researchers have found that both humans and dogs have roughly 600 different types of bacteria in their mouths. Cats, on the other hand, have about 200 different types of bacteria in their mouths — and no, that does not mean cats have the cleanest of all mouths. Bacteria are still bacteria.

Do cats or humans have more bacteria in their mouths?

One reason for this distinction might be a species difference in the microbial mouth flora. In order to compare this possibility, we cultured the mouths of humans, dogs, and cats. Human oral flora contained the smallest number of bacteria followed by dog and cat oral flora, respectively.

Are cats mouths antibacterial?

The main reason cats lick their open wounds is because their saliva can help speed up the healing process. Cat’s saliva has antiseptic, antibacterial and healing properties. However, cat’s tongues are covered in harmful bacteria. If your cat licks it’s wound and leaves it alone, the saliva will have a healing effect.