Dental problems in cats are very common and many think it is difficult or impossible to keep their cat’s teeth clean. However, it is surprisingly easy to keep your cat’s teeth and gums clean and healthy.
There are many factors that can contribute towards dental problems, these include;
Age- Dental disease is more common in older cats.
Breed- Some breeds of cat are more likely to suffer from dental disease than others.
Diet- Feeding a diet containing lots of wet, sticky foods can lead to a build up of plaque on your cat’s teeth.
This sticky plaque on your cat’s teeth will harden over time to form tartar, as more and more plaque hardens to tartar your cat will develop inflamed gums; a painful condition known as Gingivitis. If the tartar is not removed from your cat’s teeth eventually periodontal disease will develop.
Periodontal Disease, also known as Periodontitis, is inflammation of the Periodontium, which are the tissues supporting your cat’s teeth. If periodontal disease is left untreated it can lead to the loosening of teeth and subsequent to this the loss of your cat’s teeth. It can also cause systemic disease affecting many other organs in the body; this is because the gums are very vascular. The blood stream then carries bacteria to the main organs in your cat’s body. The bacteria are filtered out through the kidneys and liver putting extra strain on them. Bacteria may also attach to the valves in your cat’s heart, which could lead to an infection.
-Diet by feeding your cat a high quality dry food, you can minimise the wet, sticky plaque from attaching to your cat’s teeth, therefore reducing tartar from building up and causing a problem. The Hills T/D diet is specifically designed to push the plaque and tartar from your cat’s teeth as they bite into the kibbles. Each kibble also contains a special antioxidant formula which has been shown to help reduce the progression of dental disease.
-Chews and Toys encouraging your cat to chew on toys is a great way to minimise tartar build up and help keep the teeth clean
-Brushing by brushing your cat’s teeth you are assisting in removing the plaque and tartar from the teeth, meaning that they cannot cause a problem. Specially designed toothbrushes can be brought from most vets and pet shops. Specific animal toothpaste is also available, it very important not to use human toothpaste as this contains Fluoride, which can be toxic to your cat.
-Supplements such as plaque off which can be added to your cat’s food. Used daily it can significantly help with the control of dental plaque, tartar and bad breath. Vet aquadent is another supplement which can be added to your cat’s water, acting as an anti-plaque solution.
There are many clinical signs of dental disease, so if you notice any of the following get your cat’s teeth checked by your local vets;
-Red or bleeding gums
-Inflamed gums (Gingivitis)
Here are a few commonly asked questions and answers regarding keeping your cat's teeth clean;
Q. How often should I brush my cat’s teeth?
A. Ideally you should aim to brush your cat’s teeth once daily, despite having said this if you find it difficult to brush daily, the more regularly you brush your cat’s teeth, the more beneficial brushing will be.
Q. Should I get my cat’s teeth checked regularly by the vet?
A. Yes, the vet should check your cat’s teeth regularly and will do this when you take your cat in for its yearly booster vaccination. Most veterinary practices also offer regular dental checks with a qualified veterinary nurse.
Q. What should I do if I notice my cat has a problem with its teeth?
A. You should book an appointment with your local veterinary practice so that a vet can check your cat’s teeth, as your cat may need dental treatment.
Q. Will dental treatment be covered on my pet insurance?
A. Some pet insurance companies will cover for dental treatment if it is performed within a set period of time after your vet has recommended your cat should have dental treatment. However you should check with your insurance company before any costly treatment is performed by your vet.
Ever wondered how to brush your cat's teeth? The following video will explain how brushing your cat's teeth can be introduced;