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Common Dental problem in cats

Common Dental problem in cats

Cats can experience a lot of pain when they have oral health issues, which can also lead to other health problems. In this blog, our veterinarians will explain how you can identify typical dental health issues in cats and ways to prevent them. 

Oral Health In Cats

Your cat's oral health is essential to their overall health and well-being. Your cat relies on their mouth, teeth, and gums to eat and communicate, so when their oral structures are damaged, diseased, or/and stop functioning properly, your cat will experience pain that can affect their ability to eat and communicate normally. 

Moreover, the bacteria and infections that cause most oral health problems in cats can spread through their body if left untreated. These infections and bacteria can damage organs like the kidneys, liver, and heart, severely impacting your feline friend's overall health and longevity.

Signs of Cat Dental Problems

If you notice your cat exhibiting any of the following behaviors or symptoms, they may suffer from a dental disease. However, the specific symptoms may vary depending on the condition. 

Some of the most common symptoms of dental disease in cats can include:

  • Bleeding, swollen, or noticeably red gums
  • Bad Breath (halitosis)
  • Visible tartar
  • Missing or loose teeth
  • Pawing at their teeth or mouth
  • Excessive drooling
  • Difficulty with or slow eating
  • Weight loss

If you see your cat displaying any of the signs detailed above, they could be suffering from a dental health condition, and you should take them to your Ypsilanti vet as quickly as possible for an examination. The sooner your cat's dental disease is diagnosed and treated, the better for your cat's recovery and long-term health.

Dental Diseases That Are Common In Cats

While various dental health issues can affect a cat's teeth, gums, and other oral structures, there are three relatively common conditions you need to be aware of.

Periodontal Disease

Did you know that around 70% of all cats will develop some form of periodontal disease by the time they reach a year old? 

This disease is an infection caused by bacteria found in plaque, which is a soft film of bacteria and food debris that builds up on teeth throughout the day. If your cat's plaque isn't regularly brushed away or cleaned, it will harden and form tartar above and below the gum line. This can lead to serious gum infection, loose and missing teeth, and even organ damage if left untreated.


Feline stomatitis is a very painful condition characterized by inflammation and ulceration of a cat's gums, cheeks, and tongue.

Although Persians and Himalayans are more likely to develop this condition, any cat can suffer from it.

Cats with this stomatitis often suffer from extreme pain and, as a result, have reduced appetites. In some cases, cats will become malnourished because it is so painful for them to eat. If your cat develops a mild case, at-home care might be enough to treat their stomatitis, but a severe case may require surgery. 

Tooth Resorption

Tooth resorption is the gradual destruction of a tooth or multiple teeth in a cat's mouth. This is a relatively common issue in our feline companions, affecting approximately three-quarters of middle-aged and older cats.

When a cat suffers from tooth resorption, their body begins to break down their tooth's hard outer layer, loosening it and causing pain. This destruction occurs below your cat's gum line, which can be challenging to detect without a dental X-ray. However, if your cat suddenly develops a preference for soft foods or swallows their food without chewing, they may be suffering from this condition.

Preventing Cat Dental Problems

To prevent oral health issues from developing, it's best to brush your cat's teeth routinely and keep their mouth clean. Bringing your pet in for a professional dental examination and cleaning once a year can also help keep their teeth healthy.

It's also important to start cleaning your cat's teeth and gums as a kitten so they get used to the process. If your cat won't allow teeth cleaning, dental treats and foods are available to help maintain their oral health.

At Michigan Avenue Animal Hospital, we provide professional dental care for your feline companions just like a dentist does for humans. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Contact our Ypsilanti vets immediately if your kitty is showing signs of having a dental problem.

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