Cat Tooth Problems
Cat tooth problems occur in older cats. How can you prevent your cats from acquiring tooth diseases?
Studies estimate that 70 percent of cats three years or older exhibit signs of gum disease. Unfortunately dental problems left unchecked can lead to heart, liver and kidney diseases.
What kinds of dental diseases do cats get?
o Plaque: Cats don't typically get cavities, but they are susceptible to plaque caused by food and bacteria build up along the gums. Routine brushing can help.
o Tartar: If plaque is not removed it may form tartar. It typically takes 3-5 days. When this occurs, it is necessary to remove the tartar with special instrumentation. Buildup can lead to both gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and stomatitis (inflammation of the mucous membranes). Both diseases are treatable but if left unchecked may necessitate tooth extraction, etc.
o Periodontal Disease: Another complication unchecked tartar causes is tartar under the gums. "Pockets" of bacteria form and the damage is irreversible. This occurrence is called periodontal disease, which is very painful and leads to tooth loss, abscesses, and bone loss or infection. Eventually this bacterium may also be absorbed into the blood stream. At this point the bacteria may infect the heart, liver, kidney, or a number of other internal organs.
What are the symptoms of dental diseases in cats?
Behavior differences are often the best method of detecting dental problems in cats. Irritability, aggressiveness, depression or reclusiveness is often observed. Along with halitosis, their gums may bleed easily, and they may stop grooming adequately. A typical scenario would be a cat that runs up to their food dish as though they are very hungry, yet they will run away from the dish because the eating is so painful.
How do you care and prevent dental diseases in cats?
You can help your cat avoid dental disease with the following procedures on a daily basis.
o Simply look for the warning signs of gum disease such as bad breath, discolored gums, tartar, or a crust around the gum line. Also, be sure to look for discolored, fractured, or missing teeth. Touch the cat's gums and note any pain or bleeding. If any of these symptoms are detected, or any bumps or masses within the mouth are present check with your vet as to how to respond.
o Regularly brushing your cat's teeth can immensely help fight gum disease, ask your vet to explain this procedure.
o Studies have indicated that harder food is better at keeping plaque away.
While dental disease is a very serious problem for cats, with a few simple prevention techniques you can severely decrease your pet's chance of ailments. Consult your vet regularly about how you can maintain your cat's dental hygiene and make sure to watch closely for symptoms.