Yes, cats do suffer from dental issues. Dental diseases are
common in cats aged above 3. Pain is the most common symptom of
dental issues in a cat. He may show the pain in numerous ways
–rubbing his paws over the mouth, showing obvious discomfort
while chewing food, and drooling a lot. Abnormal bad breath is
also a common symptom of dental issues.
If you find your cat showing an abnormal reluctance to eat,
preferring moist food items to dry foods, and losing weight
drastically, then he could be suffering from dental issues.
Approach a vet at the earliest.
Most of the dental problems common to cats are preventable.
Timely detection and early treatment can make a great difference.
Here are some common dental problems that your cat could be
Plaque is a layer of bacteria that forms on the teeth surface. It
is not visible initially, but as it builds up, it can be seen as
a thick gray or white filmy layer.
Plaque can be detected early, even when the layer is not visible
by visiting a vet. A vet uses a special solution called a
disclosing solution, which helps reveal plaque.
The best way to prevent plaque in cats is by maintaining their
teeth clean. Cleaning teeth surface daily removes plaque and
ensures healthy gums. In addition to brushing his teeth at home,
schedule regular visits to the vet for professional cleaning.
When brushing your cat's teeth at home, use dental products that
are designed exclusively for cats. Using human dental products is
not recommended, as they can turn toxic for your feline.
Plaque left untreated, develops into a hard layer on the teeth
because substances such as calcium get deposited on the layer.
This hardened layer is tartar. It is usually yellow, cream or
Left undetected or untreated, tartar forms a huge hard mass that
can be removed only by a dental procedure called dental scaling.
A vet performs dental scaling on your cat after administering an
Gingivitis is another adverse effect of ignoring plaque build-up.
In a cat suffering from gingivitis, gums surrounding the teeth
get inflamed. As a result, the gums become swollen and red, which
is extremely painful for the cat.
Gingivitis occurs as a result of tartar invading the gumline –
the region below the gum tissue. Once tartar goes deep into the
gumline, there follows a steady inflow of plaque bacteria into
the region below the gumline. These bacteria cause frequent gum
infections. The infection can range from mild to moderate and
Treatment for gingivitis depends on the severity of the dental
condition. Your vet may advise a strict brushing regimen for your
cat at home, put him on antibiotics or immunosuppressive
medication, or recommend a dental scaling procedure.
In serious cases, a vet may recommend the removal of the teeth
that have become the source of inflammation. Given the tendency
of dental issues to escalate, including brushing in your pet's
routine, becomes essential. Train your cat right at a young age
so that the habit sticks as he grows up. Ask your vet for
guidance on introducing your feline to good oral health
How to Prevent Dental Health Problems in Cats
February is National Pet Dental Health Month. We just love cats
to cheek-rub our face with affection, but not if tuna-breath
slaps you upside the head. Bacteria from dirty teeth cause
pungent cat breath, but dental health needs more than a breath
About 70 percent of cats develop dental problems, called
periodontal disease, by age three! For a thorough cleaning,
veterinarians must first anesthetize your cat. It’s much easier
to prevent problems before they start. Here are five tips to take
the yuck out of kitty kisses.
Feed Some Crunch
Wet foods can be a healthy way to feed cats, but they can
increase the chance for tartar buildup. Offering cats
foods can help. Commercial “dental diets” are also
available that include special ingredients that help prevent
tarter from adhering to the teeth.
Offer Dental Treats
You can find both crunchy and soft dental treats that can help
keep cats’ teeth bright. These encourage cats to chew, and also
include the same types of ingredients found in special dental
diets to reduce tartar accumulation.
Treat With Steak
Cats don’t tend to chew their food, though, and instead grab
small mouthfuls and swallow. Try offering your cat a small hunk
of firm cooked steak once a week. That way they must chew off a
swallow-able amount, and chewing can help naturally scrub the
Rinse The Teeth
Dental rinses are
available that can be added to your cat’s drinking water. These
help reduce the amount of tartar.
Offer Kitty Tooth Paste
Malt and chicken flavored pet tooth pastes often appeal to cats
as a treat. The enzymes in the paste can work to improve dental
health even without brushing. Offer a bit of the paste on your
finger as a kitty treat a couple of times a week.
Amy Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant, consultant
to the pet care industry and the award winning author of 23 pet