The earliest sign of periodontal disease in cats is gingivitis, a
gum disease characterized by inflammation of the gums due to
plaque build-up. While gingivitis is reversible, periodontal
disease is not, making it crucial to identify early signs and get
the necessary treatment. Watch out for these signs that your
cat’s dental health may be at risk.
Red, swollen gums
A yellowish plaque build-up may appear on their teeth, with red,
inflamed gums. The best time to check is when they’re asleep or
at ease. Make it a regular practice to check for red, inflamed
gums and plaque build-up. If you spot a brownish build-up, your
cat is likely to have tartar and suffers from severe gingivitis
or early periodontitis.
If your cat's breath smells bad, the chances are that they're
suffering from gingivitis, and as the disease progresses, their
breath just gets worse.
Pain or discomfort
Monitor your cat's behavior carefully to notice any signs of
pain, especially while eating. Swelling of the gums can result in
avoiding hard foods, eating with difficulty, eating slowly, or
refraining from eating altogether. The discomfort experienced can
cause them to become lethargic and result in poor overall health.
Check for changes in their usual behaviors to know if something
Certain factors may increase the risk of your cat developing
gingivitis. Old age, diabetes, feline immunodeficiency virus,
leukemia, breed disposition (for purebred cats) are all factors
to bear in mind while checking for
Once you've identified the signs, it's time to book an
appointment with your vet for an oral examination. Depending on
the severity of the disease, your vet may perform scaling and
polishing under general anaesthesia to remove the plaque or
tartar build-up. Once this is done, you will be instructed on
practices that promote your cat’s dental hygiene.
Your vet may recommend a change in their diet to include more
plant fibers that prevent the build-up of plaque. You may also be
asked to give chews and add supplements to your cat’s water to
maintain dental health.
Brushing their teeth
You may be given a special paste to rub on your cat’s teeth with
a brush, a cloth, or your hands. As effective as this practice is
in preventing plaque build-up, it’s easier said than done. Most
cats struggle to get away, but you’re in luck if your cat enjoys
the taste and feel of it! Bottles of mouth rinse are quicker as
they can be used to spray over your cat’s teeth. With
proper care and regular check-ups, your feline friends can be
spared of their dental troubles!
How to Recognize Dog and Cat Gingivitis
Dental disease is the most common health issue affecting dogs and
cats. Early stage problems include gingivitis, a condition in
which teeth that haven’t been properly cleaned build up plaque,
tartar, and disease-producing bacteria around the gum line.
Dog and cat gingivitis leads to inflammation around the gingiva
(gums). While early stage gingivitis is uncomfortable for pets,
it’s only the beginning. Left untreated, it turns into severe
gingivitis and then periodontal disease, which can cause severe
pain, bleeding, tooth loss, and bone loss in the mouth.
Most dogs and cats show signs of periodontal disease by the time
they are 3 years old, according to the American Veterinary Dental
But just because it’s common doesn’t mean that dental disease is
something to be complacent about. Preventing advanced stage oral
disease is essential to protecting your pet from major medical
Here are five warning signs to watch for with gingivitis. If you
notice these changes in your dog or cat, talk to your
veterinarian about getting your pet a complete oral check up.
Doggy and kitty breath is not known to be of sweet fragrance.
It’s perfectly normal for pets to have a bit of bad breath after
chewing on garbage or if you’re struggling to get them to
stop eating feces. There’s a
difference, however, in food-related bad breath and
gingivitis-related halitosis. If you notice
your dog or cat has intolerably bad breath even when nothing
“icky” is being consumed, the problem is likely related to a
buildup of bacteria and plaque on the gingiva.
2. Swollen gums
Like people, canine and feline gums bulge around the root of each
tooth. In cases of gingivitis, however, the gums become so
irritated and inflamed that you can’t see a bump. Instead, the
gums are more smooth with the formerly depressed areas swelling
up around the infected area.
3. Discolored gums
In addition to being appropriately contoured, healthy gums maintain
a consistent color. That may be a light pink or even black for
your dog. Some breeds of dogs and cats have unusual looking gums
including spotted tissue. Whatever it is, get used to what’s
normal for your pet. Then check your dog or cat’s mouth regularly
to see if there’s discoloration. In some instances of gingivitis,
the gums will turn white; in others the gums will grow dark red.
4. Discharge from the gums
Discharge from the gums is a sign of late stage gingivitis and
the beginnings of periodontal disease. While
gingivitis can be reversed, periodontal disease leads to long
term, irreversible damage such as bone loss and tooth decay.
5. Behavioral changes with eating and chew toys
Watch for changes in how pets chew and what they choose to put
into their mouths. If your dog or cat shies away from hard food,
it’s possible that inflammation is making it hard to
chew. Chew toys that your
pet loved to gnaw on may go untouched because it’s too painful to
Gingivitis is a clear warning sign that your dog or cat needs a
more rigorous oral hygiene routine. As long as you take action,
the symptoms should begin to disappear and your pet will be able
to avoid further issues.
Pet parents should be sure to follow a weekly brushing regimen to
combat gingivitis -- daily is better if you can manage it.
Veterinarians also recommend that you have your dog or cat’s
teeth professionally cleaned every 12 to 18 months depending on
how severe the gingivitis is and how quickly tartar and plaque
seem to accumulate on your pet’s teeth.
The Secret Treatment For Gingivitis In Your Cat
Gingivitis occurs in the teeth due to an accumulation of plaque.
A plaque is nothing but food and bacteria that remains stuck in
the lower part of the teeth. When plaque hardens, it becomes
yellow in color and forms a substance known as tartar. It is
present along the gumline and is an indication of bad oral
hygiene.Cats suffer from gingivitis but most owners are unaware
of this fact because either they don’t know what gingivitis is or
their cats never show any symptom. Cats are very good at hiding
their pain and discomfort but vets know when cats are suffering
from a problem.Gingivitis is reversible and below are some
solutions that are effective and easy to follow.
SupplementsThere are many natural ingredients available
that can help reduce inflammation and remove microbes from the
gums. If your cats are not too fussy about different food
items, try applying a small amount of calendula with a cotton
swab on the gumline. Other natural ingredients like Echinacea
and grapefruit seed extract are excellent protection against
bacteria, fungi and microbes.
Healthy DietA good
way to decrease gingivitis and reduce inflammation in the gum
region is through a healthy diet. Apart from cat food, you can
also try giving your cat foods that you consume like apples,
carrots, celery, bits of fruit, melons, berries and other foods
that clean the teeth and remove bacteria.
BrushingOne way to
maintain proper oral hygiene is through brushing and it is also
true for cats. For brushing you can use agents like baking
soda, cinnamon, coconut oil and vitamin C based product. Since
your cat is not used to brushing, it might take a while but a
daily practice will finally get you there. Use a cotton swab or
use your fingers to gently massage the gum area with the
brushing agents and allow it to sit for some time.
Additionally, you can use your favorite toothpaste to get an
Going to the
vetFinally, taking your cat to the dentist is the best
possible option. Gingivitis level in your cat may not be
alarmingly high but it’s still better to take your cat to a vet
rather than sit and wait till things get worse.
Gingivitis occurs from plaques in the teeth and results in the
reddening and inflammation of the gum region. It occurs in both
humans and cats. However, unlike humans, the disease often goes
unnoticed. Gingivitis is reversible and following natural
home-made remedies, it can be completely removed. It’s better to
consult a vet and take proper advice because often times even you
won’t realize if things become serious.
More on Pet Dental Health
How to Prevent Dental Problems
Prevent Dental Problems Before
Signs of Strong Dental Health