Cats can suffer from a dental disease, as well which may present as gingivitis, periodontal disease, or tooth resorption. Statistically, more than half of all cats over the age of three years have some degree of dental disease. Unfortunately, our feline friends do cannot tell us they have dental disease and mask clinical signs of pain very well. As an owner, you may monitor for excess drooling, pawing at the mouth, dropping food more frequently when eating, head shaking, as well as “finicky appetites.”
Most commonly, cats suffer from the accumulation of calculus and tartar accumulation on the teeth which is a nesting ground for bacteria. This, in turn, causes inflammation of the gums otherwise known as gingivitis. The leading cause of resorptive lesions in cats is currently unknown. If left untreated, a dental disease may further develop into osteomyelitis which can spread to the bloodstream.
Gingivitis, however, may not be directly related to tartar accumulation. Some gets get an allergic response to their plaque which causes generalized inflammation referred to as stomatitis. This may appear as a thin red line along the gums. The only treatment is an extraction of affected teeth; while 60% of cats are cured in this way, 20% may have lifelong complications and will require additional care to control the disease.
Controlling dental disease for your cat will consist of brushing teeth daily, wiping teeth with gauze or cotton swab to remove plaque before it hardens, and a water additive to help bacterial control production. If you notice any signs of dental disease in your cat it is recommended to bring them to your veterinarian for an exam and if needed have a prophylactic dental done, to examine, prophy, polish and radiograph teeth as needed.
References: 2017 Lifelearn Inc. “Dental Disease in Cats.”
Written by Briarwood Animal Hospital