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Pawsitively Purrrfect Smiles: Unlocking the Secrets to Happy, Healthy Cat Teeth!

While we often associate dental problems with humans, cats are also susceptible to various dental issues that can cause discomfort, pain, and affect their overall health.



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As responsible pet owners, it is crucial to be aware of these common dental problems in cats, understand their causes, recognize the symptoms, and take preventive measures. In this article, we will explore some of the most prevalent dental issues in cats and offer guidance on how to keep your feline friend's oral health in check.



Gingivitis and Stomatitis

Gingivitis and stomatitis refer to inflammation of the gums and oral tissues. Cats with gingivitis exhibit red, swollen gums, while those with stomatitis have inflammation extending beyond the gums to the back of the mouth.

These conditions can be caused by a variety of factors, including plaque build-up, viral or bacterial infections, and autoimmune disorders. Treatment typically involves professional dental cleaning, medication, and, in severe cases, extraction of affected teeth accompanied by daily brushing of teeth. (Reference: Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine).

In most cases gingivitis in completely reversible and your cat’s teeth can become healthy if daily brushing at home is done to prevent the daily build-up of plaque.

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Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is the most common dental problem in cats, affecting a significant percentage of felines over the age of three. It is caused by the build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth, leading to inflammation of the gums and subsequent infection.

If gingivitis is not treated it turns into periodontitis. The inflammation of the gums damages the periodontal ligaments and other structures holding the tooth in place leading to the deterioration of the tooth and gums. Symptoms include bad breath, swollen or bleeding gums, difficulty eating, and tooth loss. Regular dental cleanings and daily toothbrushing can help prevent and manage periodontal disease in cats. (Reference: American Veterinary Dental College).

Unfortunately periodontitis creates these pockets where matter has been lost, you are not able to reverse the effects of periodontitis that is why daily home tooth brushing is important.

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Tooth Resorption

Tooth resorption, also known as feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORLs), is a painful condition in which the body breaks down the tooth structure, causing erosion and decay.

The exact cause of tooth resorption remains unknown however, it is thought to be related to periodontal disease. Factors such as genetics, diet, and immune system response may play a role.

Cats with FORLs may experience pain while eating, drooling, or displaying behavioural changes. Affected teeth often require extraction to alleviate discomfort. (Reference: Veterinary Dental Education Centre).

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Broken or Fractured Teeth

Cats are natural hunters, and their teeth are subjected to considerable stress and potential trauma. Broken or fractured teeth can result from accidents, fights, or chewing on hard objects.

Symptoms may include pain, difficulty eating, drooling, and swelling. Depending on the severity and location of the fracture, treatment may involve extraction or root canal therapy. Prompt veterinary attention is essential to prevent infection and further complications. (Reference: American Association of Feline Practitioners).

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Oral Tumours

While oral tumours are less common in cats compared to dogs, they can still occur and pose significant health risks. These tumours can be benign or malignant, and early detection is crucial for successful treatment.

Symptoms may include oral bleeding, difficulty eating, weight loss, and swelling. Treatment options range from surgical removal to radiation therapy, depending on the type and stage of the tumour. (Reference: Veterinary Cancer Society).

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Prevention and Care

Maintaining good dental hygiene is key to preventing dental issues in cats. We need to stop being reactive to your cat’s dental care and we need to be proactive.


Understanding the condition of your cat’s mouth is important, having annual check-ups and dental cleans where your cat’s teeth can be examined under general anaesthesia is crucial to staying on top of your cat’s health.


Veterinarians play a crucial role in guiding cat owners on maintaining good feline oral hygiene. Here’s some key advice given by veterinarians:

Regular Dental Check-ups:

Schedule routine dental examinations for your cat. Veterinarians can assess the oral health of your cat, detect early signs of dental problems, and recommend appropriate treatments or preventive measures.

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Dental Cleanings:

Professional dental cleanings under general anaesthesia are essential for thorough removal of plaque and tartar. Anaesthesia allows the veterinarian to perform a comprehensive oral examination, including X-rays, and ensures that the cat remains calm and stress-free during the procedure.

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Daily Tooth brushing:

Establish a regular toothbrushing routine using specially formulated toothpaste for cats. Use the Dental Wand or start gradually, using a soft-bristled toothbrush or finger brush, and gradually increase the duration and frequency of brushing. Regular toothbrushing helps prevent plaque and tartar build-up.

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Dental Diets and Treats:

Consult with your veterinarian about dental diets or treats that can help maintain oral health. These products are specifically designed to reduce plaque and tartar accumulation. Always look for the VOHC seal on these products - this proves that they help remove plaque.

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Environmental Enrichment:

Provide opportunities for your cat to engage in activities that naturally help keep their teeth clean. Chew toys or dental-friendly toys can help remove plaque and tartar while massaging the gums. However, avoid hard objects that could potentially damage teeth. Check out the Dental Wand & use interactive play to clean your cat's teeth.

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Conclusion

Maintaining good oral health is crucial for the overall well-being of your feline friend. While gingivitis can be reversible with proper care, periodontitis is irreversible and can lead to significant dental problems. Regular veterinary check-ups, professional dental cleanings, daily toothbrushing, and appropriate diet choices are key to preventing and managing common dental issues in cats.


By following the advice and guidance provided by veterinarians, cat owners can play an active role in maintaining their feline companion's oral hygiene. Regular dental check-ups, professional cleanings, and daily toothbrushing are essential components of a comprehensive dental care routine. Additionally, incorporating dental diets and treats, as well as providing appropriate chew toys, can contribute to maintaining healthy teeth and gums.


While gingivitis can be reversible through diligent dental care, it is important to note that periodontitis, the advanced stage of periodontal disease, is irreversible. This highlights the significance of early detection and proactive management of dental issues in cats. Prompt veterinary attention and treatment are crucial to prevent further damage to the teeth, gums, and overall oral health.


Remember, a healthy mouth not only promotes optimal oral hygiene but also contributes to the overall well-being of your cat. By prioritizing your feline friend's dental health and working in partnership with your veterinarian, you can help ensure that your cat enjoys a pain-free and healthy mouth throughout their life.

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References:

  1. American Veterinary Dental College. "Periodontal Disease in Cats." Retrieved from https://www.avdc.org/periodontaldisease.html

  2. Veterinary Dental Education Centre. "Tooth Resorption." Retrieved from https://www.vetdentalinfo.com/tooth_resorption.html

  3. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. "Gingivitis and Stomatitis in Cats." Retrieved from https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/gingivitis-and-stomatitis-cats

  4. American Association of Feline Practitioners. "Dental Disease." Retrieved from https://catfriendly.com/dental-disease/

  5. Veterinary Cancer Society. "Oral Tumours in Cats." Retrieved from https://www.vetcancersociety.org/pet-owners/cancer-types/oral-tumors/

  6. American Veterinary Medical Association. "Brushing Your Pet's Teeth." Retrieved from https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/petcare/brushing-your-pets-teeth

  7. Veterinary Oral Health Council. "VOHC Accepted Products." Retrieved from https://www.vohc.org/acceptedproducts.htm

  8. American Animal Hospital Association. "Dental Cleaning for Cats and Dogs." Retrieved from https://www.aaha.org/your-pet/pet-owner-education/ask-aaha/dental-cleaning-for-cats-and-dogs/

  9. American Veterinary Dental College. "Veterinary Oral Health Care." Retrieved from https://www.avdc.org/ownersinfo.html


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