How would you feel if you didn’t brush your teeth for years? Pretty gross, right? That may be how your cat’s mouth feels, but it doesn’t have to. Cats are just like people – they need regular dental care. Problems in the mouth of cats range from gingivitis and periodontal disease to ulcers or tumours. Regular dental care can identify problems early and provide effective treatment. That’s why veterinarians always perform a good examination of each cat’s mouth at every visit – most cat owners don’t get a good look in there very often!
How can you tell if your cat has oral disease? Here are some tell tale signs:
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Pus along the gum line or around teeth
- Loose, broken, or abscessed teeth
- Persistent bad mouth odour
- Loss of appetite
- Pawing at the mouth
- Darkened, stained, discoloured teeth
- Excessive drooling
- Sensitivity around the mouth
Professional dental care for cats is very similar to that for people. Cats must be treated under anesthesia for the procedure to be safe and comfortable. Then the cat’s mouth is thoroughly examined. Each tooth is checked and very often, x-rays are taken to detect signs of tooth damage or infection. Any diseased teeth that cannot be saved are removed. Then the teeth are cleaned and polished to slow down the accumulation of plaque and tartar. Follow up care might involve pain medication, antibiotics, and advice on continuing dental care at home.
Want to learn more about dental care for cats?
Another excellent video on brushing cat’s teeth from the Cornell Feline Health Center can be found at Partners in Animal Health.
The Feline Advisory Bureau has a comprehensive article on feline teeth and the role of home care.
And we have an information sheet on feline dental care at our Cat Hospitals website. If you have concerns about your cat’s dental health, please contact your veterinarian.