If your feline friend is experiencing dental disease then they will most likely also be suffering from the uncomfortable symptoms that accompany these conditions. Today, our Alpharetta veterinary dentists discuss the common signs of dental diseases in cats and what you can do to protect their oral health.
Dental Disease in Cats
Your cat's oral health is important to their overall health and wellbeing. Your cat uses their mouth, teeth, and gums to eat and vocalize, so when its oral structures are diseased or damaged, and stop functioning properly, your cat experiences pain, which will interfere with its ability to eat and communicate normally.
Not only that, the bacteria and infection that causes many oral health issues in cats won't just remain in your kitty's mouth. Left untreated the infection and bacteria from your cat's mouth may begin to circulate throughout your pet's body, damaging organs such as their kidneys, liver, and heart and leading to more serious impacts on the overall health and longevity of your feline friend.
The Signs of Dental Diseases in Cats
Specific symptoms will differ between conditions, however, if you notice any of the following behaviors or symptoms, there is a chance that your cat is suffering from dental disease.
Some of the most common symptoms of dental disease in cats that our pet dentists in Alpharetta see are:
- Bad Breath (halitosis)
- Excessive drooling
- Weight loss
- Difficulty with or slow eating
- Missing or loose teeth
- Visible tartar
- Bleeding, swollen or noticeably red gums
- Pawing at their teeth or mouth
If you notice any of the above signs of dental disease in your cat, bring them to your Alpharetta vet as soon as possible for examinations. The sooner your cat's dental disease is diagnosed and treated the better for your cat's long-term health.
Some of the Most Common Types of Dental Disease in Cats
While there is a wide range of health issues that can affect your cat's gums, teeth, and other oral structures, there are three particularly common conditions that our veterinary dentists in Alpharetta recommend looking out for. These conditions are:
By the time your cat is three, there is a great chance that they may be experiencing some form of periodontal disease to some extent.
This disease is an infection caused by bacteria found in plaque—the soft film of bacteria and food debris that builds up on teeth over the day. If your cat's plaque isn't regularly brushed away or cleaned, it will harden and form tartar that extends below their gum life.
When the bacteria gets trapped below your cat's gum line and against their teeth, it will begin to irritate and erode the structures supporting your kitty's teeth. If untreated, periodontal disease will cause a severe infection of your cat's gums, loose and missing teeth, and organ damage as the bacteria travels throughout your pet's body.
Feline stomatitis is an incredibly painful inflammation and ulceration affecting your cats cheeks and gums.
Persians and Himalayans are predisposed to developing this condition but any cat can develop stomatitis.
Cats suffering from this condition are often in extreme pain and have reduced appetites because of that. In some cases, cats will become malnourished because it is so painful for them to eat. If your cat develops a mild case, at-home care might be enough to treat their stomatitis. If your cat is experiencing a severe case of stomatitis then your veterinary dentist will most likely recommend surgery.
Tooth resorption in cats describes the gradual destruction of a tooth or multiple teeth in your cat's mouth. This condition is one of the most common dental conditions and typically affects cats that are middle-aged or older.
When a cat suffers from tooth resorption, its body begins to break down its tooth's hard outer layer, loosening it and causing pain. This destruction occurs below your cat's gum line so it can be challenging to detect without a dental x-ray. However, if your cat suddenly develops a preference for soft foods or swallows their food without chewing, they may be suffering from this condition.
How to Prevent Your Cat From Developing Dental Disease
The absolute best way to help prevent the development of dental problems with your cat's teeth is routine brushing and cleaning your cat's mouth. Your cat's teeth and gums will have a much better chance of remaining healthy if plaque is brushed or wiped away before it can cause damage or infection.
Your cat should see their veterinary dentist at least once a year for a full oral examination and dental cleaning to help keep their teeth strong and healthy. Dental appointments with our vet dentists in Alpharetta are just like your dental visits.
To prevent oral health issues from developing in the first place, you should begin cleaning your cat's teeth and gums while they are still a kitten and will be able to quickly adjust to the process. If your cat won't allow you to clean their teeth, dental treats and foods are also available to help you keep your cat's teeth healthy.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.