Oral issues can cause our cats a great amount of pain. These problems can even lead to other health conditions if not treated properly. Our Hattiesburg and Petal vets explain how you can recognize common dental health problems in your cat and how to prevent them.
Oral Health In Cats
The oral health of your kitty is important to their overall health and, sometimes, their mental state. Your cat uses their mouth, teeth, and gums daily to eat and vocalize, so these things inherit damage or pain, your cat could struggle with healthy eating and communicating with you or other pets in the house.
The bacteria of oral infections won't always stay in the mouth as well. Left untreated, the bacteria may begin to circulate throughout your kitty's body, damaging coat and skin health or even organs, such as the liver and heart. This is why it is vital for cat owners to be able to recognize the signs of dental issues or discomfort in their feline friends.
Signs of Cat Dental Problems
Specific symptoms may differ depending on the particular dental condition. However, here are some of the most common signs of dental issues to watch out for in your cat:
- Bleeding, swollen, or noticeably red gums
- Bad Breath (halitosis)
- Visible tartar
- Missing or loose teeth
- Pawing at their teeth or mouth
- Excessive drooling
- Difficulty with or slow eating
- Weight loss
If you see your cat displaying any of the symptoms above, take them to your Hattiesburg and Petal vet as quickly as possible for an examination. The sooner their dental condition is diagnosed and treated, the less likely it is for the condition to cause bodily harm to your cat.
Dental Diseases That Are Common In Cats
Below are the three most common feline dental diseases all cat owners should know about.
Approximately 70% of all cats will develop some form of periodontal disease by the time they're 3 years old.
This disease is when plaque buildup causes an infection in your cat's mouth. If your cat's plaque isn't regularly brushed away, it will harden and form tartar along the gum line.
When the bacteria gets trapped below your cat's gum line and against their teeth, it will begin to irritate and erode the structures supporting your kitty's teeth. If untreated, periodontal disease can result in serious gum infection, loose and missing teeth, and organ damage as the bacteria travels throughout your pet's body.
Feline stomatitis is a very painful inflammation and ulceration—opening of sores—of your cat's gums, cheeks, and tongue.
Persians and Himalayans are predisposed to developing this condition but any cat can develop stomatitis.
Cats with this condition often suffer from extreme pain, and as a result, have reduced appetites. In some cases, cats will become malnourished because it is so painful for them to eat. If your cat develops a mild case, at-home care might be enough to treat their stomatitis. But severe cases require surgical intervention.
Tooth resorption is the gradual destruction of a tooth or multiple teeth in a cat's mouth. This is a relatively common issue in our feline companions, affecting approximately three-quarters of middle-aged and older cats.
When a cat suffers from tooth resorption, their body begins to break down their tooth's hard outer layer, loosening it and causing pain. This destruction occurs below your cat's gum line so it can be challenging to detect without a dental X-ray. However, if your cat suddenly develops a preference for soft foods or swallows their food without chewing, they may be suffering from this condition.
Preventing Cat Dental Problems
One of the best ways to prevent your kitty from developing dental problems is by brushing their teeth regularly. Daily brushing can remove good particles and any bacteria your cat's mouth collected throughout the day. Their teeth and gums will have a much better chance of remaining healthy if plaque is removed before it can cause infection. If you can, start brushing their teeth as a kitten to desensitize them to the process.
Bring your cat in for a professional dental examination and cleaning once a year. Take your cat to The Pet Hospitals for a dental appointment.
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.