Dental care is an essential part of keeping your cat healthy and happy. Unfortunately, dental problems are a common issue for most cats, with nearly 90% of cats experiencing dental issues in their lifetime. Read on to find out how to keep your cat’s teeth in top shape.
1. Brush those pearly whites.
Just like humans, cats need to follow daily dental care habits to help reduce plaque and prevent dental disease. Regularly brushing your cat’s teeth is the best way to maintain their oral hygiene.
While your cat might not be the biggest fan of having their teeth brushed, they’ll become accustomed to the process. To help them become more comfortable with brushing, start by building up their trust. Offer a small amount of veterinary toothpaste on your finger to your cat so they can get used to the taste, and eventually begin using a tooth brush. Opt for brushing when your cat is sleepy and give them frequent rewards throughout the process. Gaining their trust will likely take a bit of time, so patience is key!
2. Schedule regular check-ups.
It’s important to schedule annual check-ups with your veterinarian to ensure your cat is healthy and prevent any health problems from arising. Make sure your cat’s appointment includes a dental evaluation and find out when your cat is due for a dental cleaning.
3. Freshen their water frequently.
Food debris feeds the bacteria that can cause dental diseases such as gingivitis. Drinking fresh water can help wash away food debris, keeping your cat hydrated and free from unwanted bacteria.
4. Notice bad breath and dietary changes.
If your cat has bad breath, it could be a sign that they have dental problems. Bad breath, frequent drooling, and changes in their eating habits can be signs of dental decay or disease. If these symptoms arise, it’s important to check with your veterinarian to see if your cat is in need of a dental checkup or tooth extraction.
5. Know the three major dental diseases to look out for.
Prevention is key when it comes to caring for your cat’s dental health. However, it’s also important to keep an eye out for signs of potential disease. Gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth reabsorption are three of the most common dental problems in cats.
Gingivitis occurs when the gums around your cat’s teeth become inflamed as a result of the build-up of plaque. Common symptoms of gingivitis in cats include swelling, redness, and bleeding of the gums. Your cat might also drool, avoid eating, or develop bad breath. If gingivitis isn’t controlled or treated, periodontitis can develop, which damages the tissues that connect the tooth to the gums. Tooth brushing is the best way to eliminate plaque build-up and prevent both gingivitis and periodontitis.
Tooth reabsorption in cats is a common issue that affects up to three-quarters of middle-aged and older cats. This occurs when the tooth structure breaks down, beginning inside the tooth and progressing to the hard outer layer. The cause of tooth reabsorption is not yet known, but if you notice a change in your cat’s eating behavior it’s important to bring it up with your veterinarian.
Dental care is a critical part of maintaining the health of your feline friend. Keep your cat’s smile healthy by following these care tips and considering our dental care chews.