Cat Dental Health: What Cat Lovers Need to Know

According to the Veterinary Oral Health Council, periodontal disease in cats is a BIG problem. In fact, most cats have dental health problems by the time they're just 3 or 4 years old! This is because your kitty's teeth are subject to tartar and plaque build-up just like yours, yet, many cat owners don't clean their cat's teeth.

When ignored, that tartar and plaque continue to cake your cat's teeth, eventually becoming gum disease and, later, periodontal disease. As you can imagine, inflamed gums hurt and will affect your cat's overall health.

Of course, cats are masters at hiding pain and discomfort, so you won't necessarily know there's something wrong. That's one reason it's so important to ensure that your kitty gets regular wellness exams. Your veterinarian will examine your cat's mouth as part of the exam, and they know the signs of healthy -- or problem -- gums.

The good news is that gum disease is reversible if caught early enough - and can even be prevented.


3 Ways You Can Improve Your Cat's Dental Health

1. Good nutrition is the basis of all health.

This includes dental health. The right vitamins and minerals contribute to strong bones and teeth. Your veterinarian can make a recommendation for the best foods for your kitty's age and health

2. Brush your cat's teeth.Brush your kitty's teeth for her best dental health

This is considered the gold standard in dental care. Ideally, you'll brush your cat's teeth daily! As you can imagine, the best time to introduce the idea is when your cat is still a young kitten, when it's easiest to get them accustomed to the routine. However, all is not lost if you have an adult cat, though it may take more patience (and the right incentives). If you need to train your kitty to accept having his/her teeth brushed, take a look at our blog on Pet Dental Care at Home.

3. Talk with your veterinarian.

Your vet will check your cat's gum health during your semi-annual wellness visits and make recommendations for caring for your cat's teeth. Veterinarians can tell a lot about your cat's overall health due to the health of their gums, including recognizing the early signs of gum disease. If caught early, gum disease is reversible, which can prevent your cat from experiencing unnecessary pain. Depending on your cat's age, health, and severity of dental health concerns, a professional cleaning may be necessary. 


What to Expect From a Professional Cat Dental Cleaning

First, your veterinarian will examine Kitty's mouth thoroughly and make note of any problem signs. Some potential problems can be spotted during your cat's wellness exam, but a professional dental cleaning allows your veterinarian to take a more in-depth look.  Kitty will be put under anesthesia, and your veterinary team will remove the tartar and plaque.  Along with scaling and polishing, just like we have done with our own dental hygienists, x-rays to determine the health of the teeth below the gumline will be done. If any cavities or other problems are found, those will be treated (and extractions performed, if necessary). Once Kitty's teeth are cleaned, your veterinarian will make sure s/he wakes up safely and is returned to you with a healthy mouth and whiter smile.


Symptoms of Dental Health Problems 

If your cat exhibits any of the following symptoms, you'll want to make sure to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian right away as they could be signs of gum disease:

  • Excessively foul breath
  • Teeth grinding
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty eating, such as dropping food or only eating on one side of his mouth
  • Swollen, red gums
  • Refusal to eat

In addition to periodontal disease and gingivitis, your kitty can develop mouth lesions. As you can imagine, these are painful and can require teeth extraction. 

As a cat caregiver, you want the best for your kitty including good cat dental care. Is it time for a checkup? Contact us today!


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