Dangers Of Poor Cat Dental Health
Our cats can suffer from dental health problems just like we do—problems that cause serious pain and discomfort. In fact, dental disease (periodontal disease) is the most common illness in cats over three years old. But it is also the most underdiagnosed health problem that affects your feline's well-being.
Poor dental care in cats can lead to various health issues, including dental disease and, in severe cases, infections that affect the heart, liver, kidneys, or lungs.
Dental Disease (Periodontal disease) In Cats
Dental disease, or periodontal disease, is an inflammation of a cat's gums that occurs as the animal ages. Nearly every older cat has it by age 3.
Diagnosing gum disease in cats involves looking for signs of plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth. If necessary, a thorough examination under anesthesia with X-rays will help the vet determine how severe your feline's dental condition is.
Stages of Dental Disease
Gingivitis: Inflammation of the gums, or gingivitis, is one of the earliest stages of gum disease. This happens when minerals in your cat's saliva combine with plaque and tartar to form bacteria that work their way under his gums.
The most common signs of gingivitis in cats include bad breath and puffy, swollen, or red gum tissue.
A veterinarian can perform a thorough dental cleaning to treat mild gingivitis in cats. Your vet may clean the area under your cat's gums, followed by dental polishing. Removing some baby teeth might be recommended if overcrowding is to blame for your pet's gingivitis.
Tooth decay and tooth loss: Advanced gum disease in cats is recognized by the destruction of supporting tissue around teeth caused by bacteria under the gums.
There is no way to reverse tooth decay while the affected teeth remain in your pet's mouth. Depending on your pet's tooth decay severity, your vet may recommend antibiotics or root canal treatment.
Untreated advanced gum disease can lead to tooth resorption—a painful process in which the teeth sink back into receding gums until the body eventually reabsorbs them.
Infections To The Heart, Liver, Kidneys, And Lungs
When a pet has dental disease, many bacteria reside within the mouth and oral tissues, and these bacteria can spread through the bloodstream to cause more widespread problems. Three organs particularly susceptible to infection by oral bacteria are the heart, liver, and kidneys.
Prevention Of Dental Disease In Cats:
Dental disease in cats can be managed with plenty of preventative approaches:
Brush your cat's teeth regularly. Cats can be trained to accept dental care and may even enjoy it if done at home. You can use a soft-bristled toothbrush, finger toothbrush (available at most pet supply stores), or gauze wrapped around your finger.
Diet and treats: Several dental diets and treats are available that can help keep plaque and tartar at bay. These diets are known for producing kibble with large or irregularly shaped pieces that will act like toothbrushes when chewed, as well as ingredients that prevent tartar from forming.
Annual dental cleaning: Teeth cleaning is recommended for all cats. Depending on the severity of the problem, some cats may require a dental cleaning and exam frequently depending on their dental condition. The dental examination is the most important preventive measure taken by veterinarians because it allows them to examine each tooth and prevent deterioration.
CompleteCare Veterinary Center Is Here To Take Care Of Your Pet's Dental Care
Although the gums are visible to the naked eye, more than 60% of each tooth is hidden beneath them. As a result, periodontal disease can easily be missed during routine exams. When you bring your furry companion to CompleteCare Veterinary, we perform a comprehensive oral exam and carry out X-rays to check out each of your fur baby's teeth, from root to crown. Contact us today to schedule a dental check-up for your pet.