Like humans, cats can suffer from various dental problems that impact their health and well-being. Veterinary dentistry is essential for maintaining a cat's dental health and preventing serious issues. In this blog post, our veterinary dentist inMonroe will discuss common dental problems in cats, their causes, prevention, and treatment options.

Your Cat's Oral Health

The oral health of your cat is crucial for their overall well-being. Cats use their mouth, teeth, and gums for eating and vocalizing, so any disease or damage to these structures can cause pain and disrupt their ability to eat and communicate normally. Additionally, oral health problems in cats can lead to bacteria and infections that may spread throughout the body, causing damage to organs such as the kidneys, liver, and heart and impacting their overall health and longevity if left untreated.

Cat Dental Disease Symptoms

Specific symptoms will differ between conditions; however, if you notice any of the following behaviors or symptoms, your cat may show signs of tooth problems.

Some of the most common symptoms of cat teeth problems can include:

  • Bad Breath (halitosis)
  • Excessive drooling
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty with or slow eating
  • Missing or loose teeth
  • Visible tartar
  • Bleeding, swollen, or noticeably red gums
  • Pawing at their teeth or mouth

Remember to take your cat to a veterinarian in Monroe as soon as possible if you notice any of the above signs of dental disease. The earlier your cat's dental disease is diagnosed and treated, the better off they will be in the long run.

Common Cat Dental Diseases

While many health issues can affect your cat's gums, teeth, and other oral structures, there are three particularly common conditions to watch out for. 

Periodontal Disease

Approximately 70% of all cats will develop some form of periodontal disease by the time they reach the age of 3.

This disease is an infection caused by bacteria found in plaque—the soft film of bacteria and food debris that builds up on teeth over the course of the day. If your cat's plaque isn't regularly brushed away or cleaned, it will harden and form tartar that extends below their gum life.

When bacteria become trapped beneath your cat's gum line and against their teeth, it irritates and erodes the structures that support their teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease will result in a serious infection of your cat's gums, loose and missing teeth, and organ damage as the bacteria spreads throughout his body.

Stomatitis

Feline stomatitis is an extremely painful inflammation and ulceration (formation of sores) of your cat's gums, cheeks, and tongue. Persian and Himalayan cats are more likely to develop this condition, but any cat can suffer from stomatitis. 

Cats with this condition often experience severe pain and reduced appetites. Due to the difficulty of eating, some may become malnourished.

Mild cases of stomatitis in cats may be treatable with at-home care. However, severe cases may require surgical intervention.

Tooth Resorption

Tooth resorption in cats describes the gradual destruction of a tooth or multiple teeth in your cat's mouth. This is a fairly common condition in cats, potentially affecting up to three-quarters of middle-aged and older cats. 

When a cat has tooth resorption, the body starts to break down the hard outer layer of the tooth, loosening it and causing pain. Without a dental x-ray, this destruction occurs below your cat's gum line, making it difficult to detect. This condition may be present if your cat suddenly prefers soft foods or swallows them without chewing.

Gingivitis

Information about gum disease, an early stage of periodontal disease, involves a buildup of plaque on the teeth. The best way to prevent it is by brushing daily and getting regular dental cleanings.

Signs of Dental Disease in Cats

Cats are adept at hiding pain, so pet owners must recognize the signs of dental disease, which include:

  • Bad breath
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty eating or loss of appetite
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • Loose or missing teeth

Preventing Dental Issues in Cats

Brushing and cleaning your cat's mouth routinely is best to help prevent dental problems with your cat's teeth. By keeping plaque at bay, you can greatly improve the chances of your cat maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

To maintain your cat's dental health, bring your pet for a professional dental exam and cleaning once a year at our veterinary dentistry at Monroe Veterinary Clinic. Our dental appointments ensure your cat's teeth are well cared for.

To prevent oral health issues from arising, start brushing your cat's teeth and gums while they are still a kitten. Dental treats and foods are available to help maintain your cat's dental health if it refuses to have its teeth cleaned.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your cat or dog displaying signs of dental health issues? Contact our Monroe vets to schedule a dental care examination.