Cats need a good dental regimen that should be introduced at an early age. Not only will it prevent tooth and gum problems, but also serious health issues that can become life-threatening. A proactive pet health preventive program should include regular tooth brushing and checking of a cat’s teeth and gums. Any sign of a potential dental issue should be brought to the attention of a veterinarian immediately. Pet cats will also benefit from regular dental checks and professional dental cleaning. These are perfect opportunities to catch early signs of dental issues and nip them in the bud.
More than 80% of cats have some form of tooth and gum problems by the time they are 3 years of age. Without regular tooth brushing, there will be an accumulation of plaque in the cat’s teeth and gums. The build-up creates a favorable environment for bacteria to thrive. The combination of plaque, bacteria, and debris from food eventually hardens to form tartar which can eventually cause gum irritation and inflammation (gingivitis) and even loss of teeth. There have been cases when the build-up of tartar has become so extreme and irreversible that there is a need to remove the cat’s teeth.
Cats with dental issues can suffer from extreme pain and discomfort, making it hard for them to eat and drink. Bacteria that cause an infection inside the mouth can enter the cat’s bloodstream and cause damage to the vital organs of the body including the kidneys, heart, and liver. Without prompt and appropriate medical intervention, a cat can die from complications brought about by dental disease.
Periodontal disease is a serious health issue in cats. But the good news is, it is highly preventable. You should make a habit of checking your pet’s mouth regularly. It’s important that cats should get used to having their mouths examined as early as possible. Make sure that each ‘mouth checkup’ session is a positive experience to your pet so he will learn to tolerate or even look forward to these sessions.
Your cat’s teeth should be free of any chipping, plaque, or tartar buildup. The gums should be pink without any redness, sores, swelling, or bleeding. His breath should not have a foul odor. Persistent bad breath is an early sign of periodontal disease. Other signs to keep an eye out for include drooling, pawing at the face, or changes in your pet’s eating habits and appetite. Any sign of an infection in the mouth and associated structures should warrant an appointment with your veterinarian.
Keep your cat’s teeth and gums clean with daily brushing or at least twice weekly. Tooth brushing should be introduced early in life so there won’t be any problems. Be sure to give your cat a favorite treat after each tooth brushing session to make the experience a positive one. For cats that hate having their teeth brushed, you can use a ‘finger cot’ or use a toothpaste-covered gauze to clean your cat’s teeth. Check out some great flavored cat toothpaste that your pet loves.
Professional dental cleanings are generally performed under general anesthesia. This will allow the veterinarian to examine a cat’s mouth thoroughly and to remove any build-up of plaque and tartar and perform a thorough oral examination. Other dental procedures may also be conducted based on the assessment of your veterinarian. Take note that senior cats may need to have their teeth cleaned more frequently. If you have any questions and/or concerns about your pet’s oral health, consult with your veterinarian.