Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Common Dental Problems in Cats

Dental problems in cats can cause pain and lead to other health issues. Our vets in Fayetteville share the symptoms your cat may experience with tooth problems, the common types of dental disease and how they can be prevented.

Caring for Your Cat's Oral Health

Ensuring your cat has good oral health is important for their overall well-being. Cats use their mouths, teeth, and gums to eat and communicate. If their oral structures are diseased or damaged, they may experience pain and difficulty performing these functions.

Additionally, the bacteria and infections that cause oral health problems in cats can spread throughout their body and damage important organs like the kidneys, liver, and heart.

This can seriously impact their overall health and longevity. Therefore, it's essential to maintain good oral hygiene for your cat.

Symptoms of Dental Disease in Cats

Different conditions may exhibit varying symptoms, but if you observe the following signs or behaviors, your cat may display symptoms of a tooth issue.

If your cat has teeth problems, some of the symptoms may include:

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

If you notice your cat displaying any of the above tooth problems or dental disease symptoms, bring them to your vet for dental care right away. The sooner your cat's dental disease is identified and treated, the better off they will be in the long run.

Common Dental Diseases in Cats

Gum diseases, tooth decay, and oral cancer are three common oral health conditions in cats.

Periodontal Disease

Did you know that approximately 70% of cats develop some form of periodontal disease by the age of three? This infection is caused by bacteria found in plaque, a soft film of bacteria and food debris that accumulates on teeth throughout the day.

If the plaque is not removed through regular brushing or cleaning, it will harden and turn into tartar that extends below the gum line. When bacteria get trapped under the gum line and against the teeth, it can irritate and erode the structures that support the teeth.

If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to a serious infection of the gums, loose or missing teeth, and even organ damage as the bacteria spreads throughout the body.


Feline stomatitis is a painful condition that causes inflammation and sores on your cat's gums, cheeks, and tongue. Although Persians and Himalayans are more prone to this condition, any cat can develop stomatitis.

Cats with this condition suffer from severe pain and often lose their appetite, leading to malnourishment in some cases. Mild cases can be treated with at-home care, while severe cases require surgical intervention.

Tooth Resorption

Tooth resorption is a condition in cats in which one or more teeth gradually become destroyed. This common condition can affect up to three-quarters of middle-aged and older cats. When a cat has tooth resorption, the hard outer layer of the tooth starts to break down, causing it to become loose and painful.

Since this destruction occurs below the cat's gum line, it isn't easy to detect without a dental x-ray. If your cat suddenly starts preferring soft foods or swallows their food without chewing, this condition could be present.

How to Prevent Dental Problems in Cats

Routine brushing and cleaning of your cat's mouth is the best way to prevent dental problems from developing. Removing plaque before it can cause any damage or infection is highly recommended, ensuring your cat's teeth and gums remain healthy. 

To keep your kitty's teeth in tip-top condition, you should bring your pet for a professional dental examination and cleaning once a year at Fayette Veterinary Medical Center. These appointments are similar to taking your cat to a veterinary dentist.

To avoid oral health issues in the first place, start brushing your cat's teeth and gums when they are still kittens. This will help them get used to the process. Dental treats and foods are available to help you maintain your cat's oral health if your cat refuses to have its teeth cleaned.

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.

Is your cat showing signs of dental health problems? Contact our Fayetteville vets today to book an examination for your feline friend.

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.

Book Online (770) 460-0090