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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 suffering from:
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 brown.
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 anesthetic.
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 severe.
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 practices.