Have you noticed a foul odor?
Is your cat chewing its food differently?
Dental disease is very common in cats and can lead to tooth abscesses, painful teeth and increased risk for other diseases. Unlike you and I few cats have good dental hygiene. This means that periodically through their life they need dental cleanings.
Cats usually have slightly fishy breath, but if it is strong or offensive it can be a sign of a larger problem. Dental disease is one of the most common problems in adult cats. Plaque and tartar on the teeth can lead to periodontal disease and gingivitis. Untreated dental disease can lead to oral pain, difficulty chewing, abscessed teeth, tooth loss and potentially infection in other organ systems including the heart and kidneys.
Cats are especially susceptible to inflammation of the oral cavity. They can develop resorptive lesions (FORL) in which the body eats away at the tooth until it is completely gone.
A Proactive Dental Plan
Because dental health is an important part of your cat’s overall health its important to develop a proactive plan to deal with dental disease and hopefully prevent the loss of teeth. This would include
- Veterinary dental exams during physicals
- Home dental care (brushing teeth)
- Monthly at home oral exams by owners
Is There a Food That Can Help?
Lots of products claim to promote dental health. The truth is, dental disease is mostly genetically driven in cats. Although many believe that dry food is better for teeth than wet food, some veterinarians believe the added sugar in “crunchies” actually can lead to plaque accumulation. The best thing you can do (although your cat may not allow it) is to brush their teeth and make sure the vet is following their dental health.