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Taking good care of your pearly whites is a must to maintain your overall health. The same is true for your pets, and it’s even more important that you pay attention to their dental health since they can’t take care of it themselves. Without proper dental care, your pets can be at risk of developing health issues caused by poor dental hygiene. For your pet cats, their mouths and teeth play crucial roles in their daily survival, so you must ensure that they practice regular dental hygiene and maintenance.
To give consistent dental care to your feline friends, you must first become aware of the dental problems that they may face throughout the years. According to Petsumer.com, no one understands pets like pet owners themselves, so you must know the different dental issues that your cat may experience as they age. Let’s take a look at some of them:
Similar to humans, cats can develop bad breath due to odour-causing bacteria. If you notice a foul smell from your cat’s mouth, it can be a health concern that should be immediately attended by a licensed veterinarian. Bad breath in cats is usually caused by their diet, which can include fish and liver-based food that accumulate in their mouth over time. This may also be caused by small foreign objects left between their teeth or mouth. However, if the diet isn’t the issue, bad breath in cats can be an indication of something worse. Your pet might either have metabolic diseases or a dental disease, which will be discussed later.
Bringing your cat to the right veterinarian at the earliest can save their dental and oral health. A dental appointment can help identify your cat’s health issue and allow them to receive dental services such as teeth cleaning. This way, you can also ask for the vet’s advice regarding your cat’s diet and nutrition.
Cats are no strangers to periodontal diseases or gum diseases. In fact, these are usually common in feline pets because of bacteria and dirt buildup in their teeth. Once plaque forms in a cat’s teeth and is mineralized into tartar, their teeth’s supporting structures or their gums become irritated. Gum irritation can eventually lead to inflammation, also known as gingivitis. Try to check your cat’s gums, and if it’s unusually red, it can be an indication of gingivitis, which encompasses the early stages of periodontal disease.
If this condition goes unnoticed and becomes worse, the tartar buildup will leave spaces under the cat’s teeth, spreading more bacteria around the gum area. At this point, you’re too late to prevent this condition, and your cat will be diagnosed with an irreversible periodontal disease. Eventually, this will lead to tissue destruction, bone loss, and cavity infection between the teeth and gums.
Symptoms of periodontal disease include:
Also known as lymphocytic plasmacytic gingivostomatitis complex (LGPC), FCGS is a syndrome in cats identified through several symptoms that are almost similar to periodontal diseases. Thus, it can somehow be confusing to determine without the proper diagnosis of a vet. Feline chronic gingivostomatitis results from a lack of response to antigens with viral and bacterial origins in the oral cavity. FCGS is a combination of two conditions—gingivitis and stomatitis, thus the term gingivostomatitis.
Gingivitis refers to the inflammation of the gum tissues surrounding the teeth, while stomatitis is another disease affecting other soft oral tissues like the tongue and its surrounding area, the back of the mouth, and the insides of the lips. Combining these two conditions, FCGS is characterized by severe inflammation of oral tissues around the teeth and mouth. It can be extremely painful for your cat, and can eventually weaken your pet.
Feline tooth resorption affects 25 percent to 75 percent of cats, sweeping a large part of the population mainly because most cat owners are unaware of recognizing its indications. Though your adult cat has fully grown teeth, tooth resorption happens when structures that maintain the teeth break down and dissolve. Usually, the early stages of tooth resorption start with deteriorating enamel around the gum line until the center of the tooth. Then, the tooth will slowly disappear, leaving raised bumps along the gums.
Cavities are rare conditions in cats, so when you notice something resembling a cavity, it might mean that your cat is suffering from tooth resorption. Other symptoms of this condition are eating difficulties, oral bleeding, and behavioural changes, among others. If you notice these symptoms in your pet, make sure to get the veterinarian’s confirmation and diagnosis.
People are definitely aware of how painful it is to have fractured teeth. With exposed and crooked teeth, you’re extremely vulnerable to pain and sensitivity, especially when you experience pressure and extreme temperatures. Cats feel exactly the same with tooth fractures.
Having tooth fractures in cats can be due to a variety of causes, ranging from chewing on rigid objects to cat fights. Usually, cats fracture their canine teeth or fang, which is the most exposed tooth around their mouth. Once a tooth is broken or fractured, the dentin will be exposed, thereby resulting in increased sensitivity. Worse, when the pulp is exposed, the infection can easily hide between the exposed but narrow spaces of the root canal. The cat’s immune system will not be able to detect and combat the infection, so this can cause tremendous pain every time your cat tries to chew anything. Another terrible condition would be that your cat develops infections in other parts of their body.
Though a feline’s oral and dental health might look generally stable on the outside, there are numerous dental conditions that can still cause them pain and discomfort. Their teeth and tongue are essential factors in their daily survival as these help them in eating and grooming. Thus, developing these dental issues can put a cat’s overall health at risk. By learning about the dental problems that cats have encountered throughout the years, you’re a step closer to making your cat’s nine lives healthier and better.