Dental diseases in cats

Keeping our pearly whites strong and healthy takes a lot of work. Brushing twice a day, flossing and the list goes on. Who doesn’t love a trip to the dentist twice (if we are really good) a year? Well the same goes for our fabulous felines. While there aren’t as many steps as us humans have to endure, the importance of vigilant dental care remains the same for our pet’s overall health and wellbeing. Pet parents should be aware of the dental dangers that can develop and how keeping their mouth healthy and feeling fresh is one of the most important steps to remember.  

First up is the cold, hard facts. Did you know that cats over the age of 3 are 80% more likely to develop a serious dental disease?

The risk of poor dental health leading to dangerous diseases is present from an early age. Tartar is the factor that initiates all of these dental problems. Once tartar accumulates it can progress to gingivitis which is inflammation of the gums. The next thing that can happen is periodontal disease which is irreversible. Periodontal disease damages the bone and ligaments that support your cat’s teeth. Your cat’s teeth may begin to fall out, which is not fun for anyone! The bad news does not stop there; once the bacteria is in your cat’s mouth, it will spread to the rest of their body and can cause damage to vital organs such as their kidneys, heart and lungs. That is just how dangerous dental disease can be. 

If you are worried that your cat may have a dental disease, you can look out for the below signs:

  • Bad breath (also known as halitosis) 
  • Red gums 
  • Reluctant to eat or has stopped eating 
  • Discomfort while eating 
  • Drooling 
  • Yellow-brown tartar on teeth 
  • Pawing at mouth  
  • Obvious weight loss 

Now for the good news – some aspects of dental disease are preventable and reversible. If tartar is present, a professional descale and polish is needed to clean the teeth. Once clean, you can help slow the build up by taking a few active steps when it comes to the day to day care of your cat. This includes: 

Dental diet: Speciality foods aimed to help your cat’s dental health can be a great addition to your pet’s dental health plan. These nutritionally balanced dry biscuits are specially formulated to not shatter in the mouth like normal biscuits, rather they grip around the tooth and help to mechanically clean the teeth. 
Dental toys: There are range of dental toys as well as teeth cleaning treats that can help clean your pet’s teeth. Your pet will get excited about the treat and you will be actively helping your pet to have pristine dental health; a win in our books! 
Brushing their teeth: With your handy pet toothbrush and toothpaste, you can begin cleaning their teeth daily. Be sure to not use human toothpaste as this is extremely toxic to our furry family members. If you visit your local vet clinic, they will be able to show you which would be best for your pet. There are also some wipes or gels which can be used in those cats that don’t enjoy tooth brushing. Remember to be careful of your hands whilst doing anything with your cat’s mouth. Cat bites can be extremely dangerous so we would only recommend this in our very tolerant patients!  
Currently in our clinic, we are offering FREE dental health checks for all our fabulous feline friends. If you are worried about your cat’s dental health and they are showing any of the symptoms we have mentioned, you can visit our clinic and get it all checked out. When it comes to our furry friends, it is best to ensure their overall health is in tip top condition. This can definitely start with their dental health!