Surely, your fur baby hasn’t been downing chocolate chip cookies and sugary sodas, but she can still have dental issues. In fact, cat dental care is an important part of taking care of your feline friend.
While cats don’t develop cavities the same way their human parents do, but they can get holes in their teeth. “Cat cavities” or feline resorptive lesions are a mysterious condition that can be prevented with good cat dental care.
What are Common Kitty Tooth Ailments?
“Cat cavities” or feline resorptive lesions happen when your fur baby's tooth breaks down and develops holes. The process begins inside the tooth and usually moves on to other, more visible parts of the tooth.
These resorptive lesions can be quite painful for your cat or they may go virtually unnoticed. It all depends on the number of lesions, the severity, and how tolerant your kitty is of them.
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Beyond "cat cavities," the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine recommends watching out for these other kitty tooth issues:
- Gingivitis happens when the gums around your fur baby's teeth become red and swollen. It's caused by plaque build up on the teeth. Luckily, with proper cat dental care, your feline's gingivitis can be reversed.
Periodontitis is a more severe issue that happens when gingivitis is left untreated and leads to weakening of the tissues that attach the tooth to the gums and bone.
If you suspect your cat is experiencing these problems, be sure to talk to your vet.
Cat dental health problems are actually quite common. Almost 70% of cats that are 3 years old or older have some signs of dental disease.
How Will I Know If My Cat Has Dental Problems?
Cats are masters of disguise when it comes to hiding their pain – tooth ailments included. Luckily, there're signs you can look for in your feline that point to the need for more cat dental care.
Here are some behaviors you can be on the lookout for in your fur baby that may point toward tooth troubles:
- A new or sudden preference for soft food over dry food. She isn't just being a picky diva! (Well, not this time at least.)
- Swallowing her food without chewing
- Pawing at her mouth
- Excessive drooling
- Deliberately turning her head to one side as she eats to avoid chewing on one side of her mouth
- Tooth loss
If you notice any of these, be sure to take note and report back to your vet. These could be signs of serious cat dental problems.
How Do I Practice Good Cat Dental Care?
Just like with your own pearly whites, brushing your kitty's teeth is an excellent way to practice good cat dental care.
The American Veterinary Dental College says that, “Brushing your cat’s teeth is the single most effective means to maintain dental health between professional dental cleanings.”
While brushing your cat's teeth may sound about as easy - and as fun - as walking across a floor covered with Legos, you can work up to it instead of going straight to chasing your feline friend around with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Dr. Marty Becker recommends starting out by touching your kitty's mouth the next time she jumps up in your lap or gently pulling her lip up to touch her tooth. Doing this when she's already nearby and in a good mood can help her become adapted to the sensation.
Be sure to do this when she comes to you. You certainly don't want to catch her off guard and force a finger in her mouth. No one enjoys a dental ambush.
If using a toothbrush proves too tricky, there are other options for cat dental care, such as dental wipes, dental toys and treats, and professional cleaning treatments. With the right routine, your cat may actually enjoy practicing proper dental hygiene.
Have your purr-fected the art of brushing your kitty's teeth? Do you have any cat dental care tips that have worked well for your fur baby? Drop them in the comments below for other pet parents to check out.