Cat Dental Care

Much like people, cats need dental care to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Luckily, they don”t require as much maintenance for their teeth as people do.

Many veterinarians recommend brushing a cat”s teeth once or twice a week. However, because most cats don”t exactly like having their teeth brushed, vets suggest easing into the process by first getting them used to having their mouths and teeth touched. As the cat gets used to you touching its mouth, you can slowly start introducing the actual brushing procedure.

While it”s generally easier to train a kitten, rather than an adult can, to let you brush its teeth, adult cats can still adapt to an oral health care routine.

When brushing your cat”s teeth, be sure to use a special toothbrush and toothpaste. Never use a human toothbrush or toothpaste on cats, as these products aren”t suited for animals. Along with specially designed toothbrushes that fit over a person”s finger, pet stores and veterinarians offer a range of kitty toothpaste that comes in flavors enjoyable for cats.

On top of regular brushing, vets usually recommend a once-yearly checkup. Regularly brushing and checking on your cat”s mouth can help you notice any irregularities as soon as they occur, possibly helping you prevent your feline coming down with infection.

Cat”s Mouth Anatomy

Cat Dental AnatomyA cat”s mouth is often more difficult to access than a dog”s. Because they do not pant, lick people or open their mouths nearly as often as dogs, problems with their mouths can go unnoticed for a much longer period of time. Owners should check that their cat”s breath is normal, that there is no tooth discoloration and that its gums are not red or swollen. As with people, any mouth irregularity can indicate infection or disease.

Cat Dental Care and Overall Health Cat Dental Care: Bad Breath

A number of different things can cause bad breath in cats, including something as simple as the food the animal is eating. To eliminate bad breath, the first things to try are a diet change and teeth brushing. If your feline refuses to allow you to brush its teeth, pick up treats and/or toys from your local pet store that are specially made to eliminate bad breath. However, if the breath problem persists, consult the vet to see if an underlying, more serious condition is causing this health issue.

Cat Dental Care: Plaque and Tartar

Like people, cats have plaque and tartar that build up on the teeth over time. If left untreated, periodontal disease and other gum problems may result. In the most extreme cases, your cat”s teeth may fall out. If you have trouble cleaning your cat”s mouth, your veterinarian can do it for you. Regular cleanings are key to overall oral health.

Cat Dental Care: Cat Gingivitis

Cat GingivitisAnother culprit of bad breath can be gingivitis. If your cat”s breath becomes worse than normal for no apparent reason, check his or her gums for redness and/or swelling. Unless your cat is teething, these symptoms are not normal and demand immediate medical care from a vet. Often, a cat”s saliva will take on a bad smell as well when gingivitis is present.

Cat Dental Care: Rodent Ulcers

Also known as esinophilic ulcers, rodent ulcers is a condition in which a feline has skin lesions on its face or in its mouth. Occasionally hard to get rid of, rodent ulcers are causes by tissue destruction and cell death, a precursor to the development of cancer. However, the exact cause of cell death is unknown. While treatment for rodent ulcers can be as simple as feeding your pet high-protein food, it can also be as complicated as having your pet undergo surgery or radiotherapy.

Cat Dental Care: Oral Tumors

Oral tumors are often discovered late because felines rarely open their mouths wide enough for their owners to notice any abnormal oral growth. The most common places for these tumors are the mandible, base of the tongue and maxilla. Aside from the tumors themselves, symptoms include difficulty eating and abnormal salivation. The condition will loosen the cat”s teeth, and can even make it appear disfigured. Owners are advised to see a veterinarian as early as possible, as the condition can worsen if left untreated.

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