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Cats Dental Care 101

Prevention, Management, and Care of Cats' Teeth and Mouth

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Although cat owners may have sharp eyes at spotting symptoms of illness in our furry friends, many of us have taken a more casual approach to dental health. It is not surprising, therefore, to learn that 85% of adult pets have periodontal disease, and that dental disease is the largest single cause of health problems in cats.

An early planned dental care program for your cat will help protect his teeth for life. Perhaps surprisingly, such a plan may help protect other organs. Left untreated, harmful bacteria from the oral cavity can spread throughout the bloodstream to infect the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys.

Open Wide, Kitty!

Veterinarian Examines Cats Teeth
Photo Credit: © iStockPhoto/Burak Demir
Cats often suffer oral diseases very similar to humans'. They include Peridontal Disease, Feline Stomatitis, Feline Odontoclastic Oral Resorption Lesions (FORL), and Malocclusion, many of which are very painful conditions.

Although evidence of pain in eating may be a symptom of feline dental disease, it is usually one of the last symptoms. Don't wait until these symptoms present, to save your kitty's teeth. With daily brushing, regular home examination, a well-balanced diet, and regular veterinary examination, you may never have to witness such evidence of your loved one's suffering.

Dental Care Plan for Cats

Picture of cat Simon brushing his teeth
Photo Credit: © Galen's Granny
If you understand the importance of a regular dental care routine for your cat, you're probably ready to start one now. If you need convincing, or you think just feeding dry food will handle "teeth cleaning," you should re-read the previous link. Veterinary professionals advise a three-step program for maintenance of your cat's teeth and gums. I have added a couple more:
  • Veterinary Dental Exam
  • Home Dental Care Plan
  • Annual Veterinary Re-examinations
  • Monthly At-Home Oral Examination
  • Floss!
The Home Dental Care Plan is detailed in the link.

How To Clean Your Cat's Teeth

Photo of Smiling Cats
Photo Credit: © Franny Syufy
Dental health is every bit as important to cats as it is to humans. A regular program of teeth cleaning will ensure your cat will enjoy his senior years with all his teeth intact. Follow these instructions for best results.

You might want to experiment with flavored toothpaste for cats. There is a fish-flavored one that is quite tasty.

How To Examine Your Cat's Teeth and Gums

A critical part of a dental care program for cats is routine at-home examination of his teeth and gums. Here are tips for making it easy on both of you.

Choose a comfortable spot with good lighting. A small penlight would be an asset. It may also be easier to have a partner hold the cat's mouth open while you examine the oral cavity.

Dental Care Products for Cats

Petrodex Dental Treats
Photo Credit: Courtesy of PriceGrabber
Eighty-five percent of all adult pets have periodontal disease. Left untreated, harmful bacteria from the oral cavity can spread throughout the bloodstream to infect major organs. Starting a regular dental care routine for your cat is one of the most important things you can do to help ensure optimum overall health for your cat. Here are my choices for an ongoing dental health regimen for cats. They include cat toothbrush kits, flavored kitty toothpaste, dental rinses and gels, and even special dental treats.

February is Pets Dental Month

Every February, several veterinary groups, including the The American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA),and the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS) join together to educate pet owners to the importance of regular care of their pets dental needs during Pet Dental Health Month.

The effects of gingivitis and periodontal disease in cats can be so far-reaching that, actually, every month should be dental health month.

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