When it comes to keeping your favorite fluffball healthy, you must ALWAYS remember to look after their teeth, gums and all aspects of their oral hygiene, too. Although it may seem easier said than done, making sure your cat’s teeth are healthy and clean can be quite easy and relatively simple to slip into your daily routine.
Many problems can occur when your kitten's oral health isn’t cared for properly – and sometimes they’re more prone to issues than we realize. Did you know that between 50% - 90% of cats older than four suffer from feline gum disease or other types of dental illnesses? Although this is a scary figure, lots of these diseases can be avoided through active prevention.
The best thing to do as a kitty parent is to gain as much knowledge and information as possible when it comes to your cat’s oral health. That’s why at Petlab Co., we have looked into the most common problems and how just three simple practices can help you prevent your kitten from developing these painful dental issues.
Just like us humans, cats can develop an array of conditions when their oral hygiene is less than adequate. The three most common problems are; Gingivostomatitis, Periodontitis and tooth resorption. The severity of these conditions vary, but all unfortunately, bring pain and discomfort to your kitty. Not only will they suffer from the pain, but these dental diseases can stop your kitten from eating – resulting in more health problems which may even become fatal.
Gingivostomatitis is a health condition that attacks the gums, causing them to become inflamed, painful and swollen. This is normally caused when plaque begins to build up around the gum line at the base of the tooth. If this is not removed regularly, the plague can seep deeper into the gum, where the immune system reacts by causing inflammation – resulting in gingivostomatitis.
The best way to prevent this disease is to regularly remove excess plague build-up on your cat’s teeth.
When gingivitis is not treated, it can develop into a condition called periodontitis – which when it gets this far, it cannot be cured. This condition occurs when the tissue that connects the tooth to the gum and bone weakens due to a damaging substance produced by bacteria in plaque joins with the inflammation caused by the cat’s own immune system trying to fight the infection. When all this destruction takes place, the gums and bones that hold teeth in place can become weak, leading to loose teeth or complete tooth loss.
Tooth resorption is a condition where the cat’s body begins to break down and absorb the structure within the tooth. Normally starting in the enamel along the gum line, this disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in cats, with up to 70% showing signs. Unfortunately, due to this dental complication starting inside the tooth, once external signs have begun to show, the damage is normally significant.
This condition can be extremely painful for your kitten, which can result in your cat avoiding food and struggling to eat. They sometimes begin to drool, only use one side of their mouths when chewing and may begin to behave differently. There is no cure, but with medical intervention, the pain can be managed, and the condition's progression can be controlled.
Most of the issues above can be prevented with simple actions. Take a look at 3 easy ways to help support your kitten's oral health…
When you think of keeping teeth clean, the first thought is normally a toothbrush. We brush our own teeth at least twice a day and it is just a part of our regular daily routine. But when it comes to our cats, they need a little bit of our help.
Brushing your cat’s teeth is a great way to look after their oral health and avoid dental disease. At first, your cat may reject the toothbrush – it can’t be nice having a bristly, cold plastic stick with a cool paste pushed around your mouth, but after a while, your cat should get used to it.
Cats should never, under any circumstances, have their teeth cleaned with human toothpaste. The fluoride levels are too high. Always purchase and use a feline friendly toothpaste.
PETLAB CO. PRO TIP: If you chose brushing as your method of feline oral health, try to introduce it at an early age. The sooner they’re used to the toothbrush and paste, the easier it will be for both you and your kitten. Avoid using a toothbrush when they have their milk teeth, as they will be too vulnerable.
A lot of the time, the best preventative is knowledge. We know that cat’s develop plaque build-up just like us, but we need to make sure we understand when we need to take proactive action…
Normally, the first tell-tale sign is bad breath. It's usually something you can’t miss or avoid, unless you don’t spend any time with your fluffball! This is one of the symptoms of advanced dental disease. This may be accompanied by; swollen gums, drooling and tartar building on the teeth that is a yellowish-brown color.
Another indicator is your cat chewing on one side of their mouth or having difficulty eating. This could also become obvious if they begin to lose weight. This could mean your cat is suffering from a severe form of gingivitis. And, to make matters worse, some cats don't show any symptoms until it is too late – which is why prevention is better than a cure in this case.
As said above, the key to avoiding serious dental diseases is prevention. Your actions as their kitty-parent are imperative and the sooner you find an easy and simple way of supporting your kitten’s mouth, teeth and gums, the better their health will be – simple.
Look for a liquid based dental formula you can add discreetly to their water bowl, as most cats will be very reluctant to having their teeth manually cleaned! Regular, continued external support via a cat specific dental formula will support optimum oral health for your cat!
We know that trying to find the right feline dental routine can be difficult, and as a cat parent, you know that they have a complete will of their own! If they don't want to do something, they will soon let you know! That is why we're here to help.
Keeping your cat's oral health to an optimal level is extremely important. Not only will it help protect them from gum and teeth conditions, but it can also help prevent tooth loss and other, more serious health issues. We must remember it is our job to keep our fur babies healthy, and with just a few simple changes, you can avoid 90% of these issues from occurring, which will help your kitten live a long and healthy life.