Did you know that kittens have 26 temporary teeth that start appearing at 2 to 3 weeks of age? Adult cats have 30 permanent teeth that start to appear at about 4 months of age. Oral disease is the most commonly diagnosed health problem in cats – about 70% of cats have signs of oral disease by age 3 according to the American Veterinary Dental Society. Just like our teeth, the teeth of cats also develop plaque and tartar. Without proper care, plaque and tartar can lead to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is associated with pain, impairment of normal tooth function, tooth loss, and even serious infections. In addition, cats have a dental problem unique to them – they can develop painful tooth resorptive lesions. About 28% of cats will develop at least one of these lesions during their life.
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
What can you do? It’s easy – start by scheduling a routine wellness examination including a dental exam with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will be able to determine what immediate treatments will help restore your cat’s oral health. As well, your veterinarian will also discuss ongoing dental care for your cat, including home care, dental diets, and dental treats.
- Read our information sheet on feline dental care.
- Listen to a podcast on dental care for pets.
- Contact your veterinarian today to improve your cat’s dental health.