Many cat owners probably aren’t aware that oral care is the number one health issue facing cats today. Up to 85% of all cats will show signs of periodontal disease by the time they reach age 3. Without proper home and professional dental care, the condition of their teeth will worsen steadily over time. Pain, tooth loss, and a shortened lifespan can result from untreated dental disease.
At Carriage Hills Animal Hospital, we’re passionate about feline dental health. We know that good dental care for cats begins with giving owners the tools and information they need to get started off on the right paw!
Cats and Cavities
Like dogs, cats are prone to developing periodontal disease, but there are certain dental issues that are specific to cats, including:
- Tooth resorption – Cats don’t get cavities the way humans do, but they can develop tooth-colored holes in their teeth. Known as feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORLs), these incredibly painful lesions appear at or below the gumline and develop when the root structure breaks down, allowing the tooth enamel to erode away. More than half of cats over the age of 3 will be affected by tooth resorption.
- Feline stomatitis – This severe, painful inflammation of the mouth and gums can be caused by dental disease, certain viruses, and other inflammatory conditions. Many cats need long-term treatment to control the condition.
- Fractured canines – Fractures to the tips of the canine teeth are common in cats. Because the pulp chamber exists so close to the end of the teeth, even small cracks can expose this sensitive tissue, leading to decay and other problems.
Cause for Concern
Schedule an appointment for your cat if you notice any of the following signs of dental trouble:
- Bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Redness or bleeding along the gumline
- Difficulty eating (may appear as abnormally messy eating)
- Pawing at the mouth
- Loss of appetite
Feline Dental Health Starts at Home
Your cat may be a meticulous self-groomer, but their dental care is up to you. The idea of brushing your cat’s teeth may make you laugh out loud, but this is one of the most effective ways to prevent dental disease.
Teaching a cat to accept tooth brushing takes patience and commitment, but with time, most cats can learn to tolerate having their teeth brushed. One of our veterinarians would be happy to walk you through the process and provide tips for encouragement along the way!
In addition to a dedicated at-home dental care routine, regular professional exams and cleanings under anesthesia are recommended for all cats. This allows us to thoroughly examine your pet’s mouth, take digital x-rays (60% of dental disease occurs below the gumline), and descale and polish each tooth.
Please don’t hesitate to contact our staff for more information or to schedule an appointment for your pet.