If you’re new to adopting cats, you probably have a bunch of questions that you might think sound a little bit silly, but you still really want to ask. A common question along these lines is this: do cats require regular dental care? Or are they self-sufficient enough for me to let them take care of it, themselves?
February is Pet Dental Health Month, so it’s a great time to learn about taking care of your cat’s teeth and mouth. Dental problems are some of the most common issues vets see in their patients.
So does your cat really need dental care? Let’s dig into the answer.
What Sort Of Dental Issues Could My Cat Suffer From?
On some levels, cats are remarkably self-sufficient animals. They take care of much of their own cleaning and grooming and will even tidy up after themselves in the litter box.
However, this doesn’t mean that plaque and bacteria can’t build up around their teeth.
The list of oral ailments that your cat could experience includes gingivitis (which can lead to gum disease), abscesses in the roots, excessive tartar buildup, and even loss of teeth.
In severe cases, your cat might also become susceptible to something called odontoclastic resorptive lesions, which are sometimes referred to as neck lesions, cervical line lesions, or feline caries. These painful lesions appear as erosions of the tooth enamel at the gum line and often require tooth extraction as a solution.
Can Dry Food Prevent Dental Issues?
Dry food cannot totally prevent dental issues. While it’s often said that kibble and dry food help keep a cat’s teeth clean, they might still need a little extra help.
One simple step you can take is to switch your feline’s regular treats out for dental treats, such as Feline Greenies dental treats.
Ask your veterinarian which kinds of foods and treats are good for your cat’s oral health. They will be able to provide you with solutions that meet your cat’s individual needs.
Should I Brush My Cat’s Teeth?
If you think that your cat could do with some assistance when it comes to their oral cleaning regimen, then by all means ask your vet to recommend a safe, at-home dental routine.
Regular brushing of a cat’s teeth can help remove plaque.
You may want to try this cat toothbrush and toothpaste to care for your cat’s teeth at home.
You should start regular brushing when your cat is young if possible. This will help your cat become more comfortable as you continue brushing their teeth into adulthood.
What About Regular Vet Cleanings?
When your cat has their next wellness visit, ask your vet to check for any signs of periodontal disease. After this oral examination, your vet might suggest that your cat undergoes a professional teeth cleaning. This will take place under general anesthesia.
Professional examinations and cleanings are the best way to keep your cat’s teeth in good shape. Do not skip the annual or semi-annual vet visit. Your vet can catch the signs of gum disease early and prescribe treatment or preventative care.
What sort of dental hygiene do you practice with your cat? Do you regularly brush your cat’s teeth? Let us know the details in the comments below!