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Cat Dental Health

Cat Dental Health

Pet owners may not realize that just like humans, their cats can experience painful dental problems like tooth decay and gum disease. In this article, our Fayetteville vets explain how to spot dental health problems in your cat, some of the most common dental diseases in cats, and how these issues can be treated.

Your Cat's Dental Care

Maintaining your cat's oral health is vital for their overall well-being. Cats rely on their mouth, teeth, and gums for eating and vocalizing. When these oral structures are diseased or injured, it causes pain and hampers their ability to eat and communicate effectively.

Bacteria and infections cause oral health issues in cats. Infections and bacteria from your cat's mouth may begin to circulate throughout your pet's body, damaging organs such as their kidneys, liver and heart. This can lead to negative overall health and reduce the longevity of your cat.

Signs of Cat Dental Health Issues

If you notice any of the following symptoms, there is a chance that your cat may be suffering from dental disease.

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

If you notice any of these signs of dental disease in your cat, bring them to your Fayetteville vet as soon as possible. The faster your cat's dental disease is diagnosed and treated, the better your cat's long-term health will be.

Dental Diseases In Cats

There are three particularly common dental diseases to watch out for in cats; periodontal, stomatitis and tooth resorption.

Periodontal Disease

  • About 70% of all cats will develop some form of periodontal disease by the time they reach 3 years old. This disease is an infection caused by bacteria found in plaque, which is the soft film of bacteria and food debris that builds up on teeth over the course of the day. If your cat's plaque isn't regularly brushed away or cleaned, it will harden and form tartar that extends below their gum life. When the bacteria gets trapped below your cat's gum line and against their teeth, it will begin to irritate and erode the structures supporting your kitty's teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause severe infection of your cat's gums, loose and missing teeth, along with organ damage.


  • Stomatitis is an incredibly painful inflammation of your cat's gums, cheeks and tongue. Persian and Himalayan cats commonly develop this condition but any cat can develop stomatitis. Cats suffering from this condition are often in extreme pain and have reduced appetites. In some cases, cats will become malnourished because it is so painful for them to eat. At-home care might be enough to treat their stomatitis, but severe cases require surgical intervention.

Tooth Resorption

  • Tooth resorption describes the gradual destruction of a tooth or multiple teeth in a cat's mouth. This is a fairly common condition in cats, potentially affecting up to three-quarters of middle-aged and older cats.  When a cat is suffering from tooth resorption, their body begins to break down their tooth's hard outer layer. If your cat develops a preference for soft foods or swallows their food without chewing, they may be suffering from this condition.

Preventing Dental Issues In Cats

The best way to help prevent the development of dental problems with your cat's teeth is to brush your cat's teeth regularly. If you don't know how to clean your cats teeth, you may be seeing signs of dental health issues in your pet. Your cat's teeth and gums will have a much better chance of remaining healthy if plaque is brushed or wiped away before it can cause damage or infection. If your cat can't tolerate teeth cleanings, dental treats are also available to help keep your cat's teeth healthy.

To keep your kitty's teeth in tip-top condition take your pet for a professional dental examination and cleaning once a year. Taking your kitty for a dental appointment is like taking your cat for a routine dentist appointment. It's also important to take your vet for Routine Wellness Exams to ensure preventative measures can be taken.

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.

If your cat is suffering from dental issues, contact our vets at Fayette Veterinary Medical Center to book an appointment for your cat.

New Patients Welcome

Fayette Veterinary Medical Center is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Fayetteville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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