trong and sharp teeth, but unfortunately, many cats aren’t provided adequate food for conditioning their teeth. There are special feline foods that contain fibers to reduce plaque and tartar build-up for clean teeth and fresh breath, and provide other essential nutrients to your cat’s overall health.
If your cat is experiencing a dental problem, it may take a while for you to notice it because cats instinctively hide their pain so they don’t appear vulnerable to predators. If your cat hides more than usual, refuses to sleep, or becomes aggressive, this could point to tooth pain.
Proper Cat Dental Care: The Problem With Plaque on Your Cat’s Teeth
Plaque is the film you feel on your teeth when you wake up each morning; it is formed by saliva, bacteria and food particles. It can quickly turn into tartar – a hard yellowish deposit on the teeth – and can also cause gum infection, which is the first stage of periodontal disease.
Approximately 70 percent of cats experience periodontal disease by the time they turn two, but other types of gum disease can arise earlier. Bacteria from plaque accumulation can cause infection in the lungs, liver, kidney and heart.
Check for Signs of Feline Dental Concerns
Between vet visits – to ensure proper dental care – be sure to check your cat for these important warning signs:
Bleeding or a dark red line along the gums;
Ulcers on the gums;
Excessive drooling or pawing at the mouth area;
Difficulty chewing food or refusal to eat.
If you notice any of these warning signs, take your cat to the vet immediately. Your vet may recommend a professional dental cleaning, which begins with blood work to determine if he or she is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia. If she is, your vet will administer anesthesia and begin a comprehensive cleaning.
How to Brush a Cat’s Teeth at Home for Proper Cat Dental Care
The gold standard for cat oral care at home is brushing. Here are some tips for getting started:
Get your cat used to the idea of having his or her teeth brushed by keeping the sessions short and positive;
Use a toothbrush designed especially for cats – it’s smaller than a human toothbrush and has softer bristles;
Use toothpaste designed for cats – using your own toothpaste can cause distress and upset your cat’s stomach;
If your cat has inflamed gums, brushing his or her teeth too hard might be painful, so visit the vet for a quick check-up before you begin brushing.
Also, be sure to reward your cat for being so patient with either a treat or play. This will help make future brushings easier on you both.
Alternatives to Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth
In addition to brushing your cat’s teeth, you can take other actions to ensure proper cat dental care. Chew toys and oral gels, along with specifically formulated dental treats and food can slow the formation of tartar and avoid the onset of dental disease.
If you have questions regarding your cat’s dental care – don’t hesitate – call our office today to schedule a consultation!