Why Is Dental Care Important For My Cat?

Maybe you’ve never really thought about it before, but proper dental care is just as important for your cat’s health as your dental care is to your overall health.

A Veterinarian examining a cat's teeth

Must Know Information

Plaque is a biofilm or mass of bacteria that is constantly piling up on your cat’s teeth. Over time, the plaque hardens and becomes tartar or calculus, a hard brown material on the tooth’s surface. Tartar and plaque contain bacteria and the bacteria invades the space under the gum line and causes destruction of the tissues that support the tooth. This can lead to periodontal disease, inflammation, or swelling of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth.

It is estimated that periodontal disease affects at least 70% of cats over 3 years of age. As periodontal disease progresses, it can result in bone loss and teeth that are mobile, both of which are painful. Periodontal disease causes pain and is permanent once established, but it is preventable!

What Should I Do For My Cat’s Oral Health?

We recommend a home-care routine combined with regular dental examinations, cleanings, and procedures with your veterinarian.  You can make a significant difference in your cat’s overall health and comfort with a home-care routine. The more you do at home, the less your veterinarian will need to do.

Brush Your Cat’s Teeth

Tooth brushing is the single most effective way to decrease plaque and tartar. We brush our own teeth on a regular basis to keep them healthy and regular brushing also improves the health of your cat’s teeth. Please make sure to introduce a tooth brushing routine slowly and use lots of patience, positive reinforcement, praise, and treats as needed. You should use a toothbrush that is comfortable for the small areas of your cat’s mouth and use toothpaste specifically for cats. When you brush your cat’s teeth, you may catch the early signs of oral problems. You may also notice fractured teeth or teeth with tooth resorption, a painful dental disease that results in the loss of the tooth structure.

Cause for Concern
If your cat seems to have painful teeth, tartar, gingivitis (red gums), or if you notice a foul odor coming from your cat’s mouth, call your veterinarian. This indicates that your cat’s teeth should be professionally cleaned before you begin at home-care routine. Discuss your cat’s teeth and oral health care with your veterinarian at every visit.