Why is dental care so important?
Poor dental care will cause gingivitis and left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis. Infection and inflammation spread from the gums (gingiva) to the ligaments and bone that support the teeth. Loss of support causes the teeth to become loose and eventually fall out.
Poor dental care, leading to problems causes your cat an immense amount of pain, it makes eating difficult and needs to be addressed quickly for his sake.
Unhealthy teeth and gums have a greater impact on the body than just causing bad breath, pain, and infection. Bacteria can easily enter the bloodstream, leading to the body mounting an inflammatory response which increases the risk of your cat developing kidney or heart disease.
What are the signs of dental problems in cats?
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Red or swollen gums, especially along the gum line
- Gums which bleed easily, especially when touched
- Receding gum line
- Difficulty or reluctance to eat
How to prevent dental problems:
- Regular visits to your vet, which will include an oral examination.
- Daily care of your cat's teeth at home.
- Regularly check your cat's mouth for any signs of dental problems. If you notice any of the symptoms above, seek veterinary attention immediately.
- Avoid feeding an exclusive diet of canned food.
How do I care for my cat's teeth?
There are several ways to care for your cat's teeth at home. Proper dental care should begin when your cat is young so that he becomes used to having his mouth handled.
- Regularly brushing your cat's teeth. This will need to be done with a special 'cat' toothbrush and toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste on animals.
- You can purchase special diets which are designed to reduce plaque and tartar formation. One such food is Hills T/D which can be purchased through your veterinarian.
- Feed raw chicken necks or bones. This is a somewhat controversial topic. In Australia it is quite commonly recommended as a way to reduce plaque and tartar formation, however, there are risks associated with feeding raw bones to cats. Speak to your veterinarian for his/her opinion on feeding raw chicken necks and or bones.
- Regularly feed chunky pieces of raw beef which the cat really has to gnaw on.