Common Cat Dental Problems

Dental conditions in cats can be difficult to spot and diagnose as cats are notoriously good at hiding any pain or discomfort. Today, our Middlesex veterinary dentists discuss the common dental problems that cats experience and how you can help prevent these issues from happening.

The Oral Health of Your Cat

Your cat's oral health is important to their overall health and wellbeing. Your cat uses their mouth, teeth, and gums to eat and vocalize, so when its oral structures are diseased or damaged, and stop functioning properly, your cat experiences pain, which will interfere with its ability to eat and communicate normally. 

Not only that, the bacteria and infection that causes many oral health issues in cats won't just remain in your kitty's mouth. Left untreated the infection and bacteria from your cat's mouth may begin to circulate throughout your pet's body, damaging organs such as their kidneys, liver, and heart and leading to more serious impacts on the overall health and longevity of your feline friend.

Symptoms of Dental Disease in Cats

Specific symptoms will differ between conditions, however, if you notice any of the following behaviors or symptoms, there is a chance that your cat is suffering from dental disease.

Some of the most common symptoms of dental disease in cats can include:

  • Bad Breath (halitosis)
  • Excessive drooling
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty with or slow eating
  • Missing or loose teeth
  • Visible tartar
  • Bleeding, swollen or noticeably red gums
  • Pawing at their teeth or mouth

If you notice any of the above signs of dental disease in your cat, bring them to your Middlesex veterinary dentist as soon as possible for examinations. The sooner your cat's dental disease is diagnosed and treated the better for your cat's long-term health.

The Most Common Types of Dental Disease

While there is a wide range of health issues that can affect your cat's gums, teeth, and other oral structures, there are three particularly common conditions to watch out for. 

Periodontal Disease

By the time a cat is three, they will most likely experience periodontal disease to some degree, some more severely than others.

This disease is an infection caused by bacteria found in plaque—the soft film of bacteria and food debris that builds up on teeth over the day. If your cat's plaque isn't regularly brushed away or cleaned, it will harden and form tartar that extends below their gum line and needs intervention from a veterinary dentist.

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 will cause a severe infection of your cat's gums, loose and missing teeth, and organ damage as the bacteria travels throughout your pet's body.

Stomatitis

Feline stomatitis is an incredibly painful inflammation and ulceration of your cat's gums, cheeks, and tongue.

Persians and Himalayans are predisposed to developing this condition but it is possible for any breed of cat to develop stomatitis.

You will notice that if your cat is experiencing this condition they will most like refrain from eating due to the pain they are in. 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 from a veterinary dentist.

Tooth Resorption

Tooth resorption in cats describes the gradual destruction of a tooth or multiple teeth in your cat's mouth. This is a fairly common condition in cats, potentially affecting up to three-quarters of middle-aged and older cats. 

When a cat suffers from tooth resorption, its body begins to break down its 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 their veterinary dentist using dental x-rays. However, if your cat suddenly develops a preference for soft foods or swallows their food without chewing, they may be suffering from this condition.

How To Prevent Dental Disease in Cats

The absolute best way to help prevent the development of dental problems with your cat's teeth is routine brushing and cleaning your cat's mouth. Your cat's teeth and gums will have a much better chance of remaining healthy if plaque is brushed or wiped away before it can cause damage or infection.

To help keep your kitty's teeth in tip-top condition bring your pet in for a professional dental examination and cleaning once a year. Dental appointments at Bound Brook Veterinary Clinic are like taking your kitty for an appointment at the veterinary cat dentist.

To prevent oral health issues from developing in the first place, you should begin cleaning your cat's teeth and gums while they are still a kitten and will be able to quickly adjust to the process. If your cat won't allow you to clean their teeth, dental treats and foods are also available to help you keep your cat's teeth healthy.

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.

Are you concerned about potential dental issues with your cat? Contact our Middlesex veterinary dentists to schedule an examination.