Cats can suffer from dental diseases like gingivitis as early as 3 years old. Our veterinarians at Hohenwald can help with symptoms, causes, and treatments to keep them healthy.
What is Gingivitis in Cats?
Cats can experience inflammation of the gums around their teeth, known as gingivitis. This dental issue can vary in severity, causing discomfort while eating and even tooth loss in severe cases.
The cause of gingivitis is the buildup of plaque on the teeth, which can turn into a hard substance called tartar if not removed through brushing. Tartar can strip enamel, leading to gum recession, ulcers, and bleeding.
Signs of Gingivitis in Cats
If you observe any of the subsequent symptoms in your feline, promptly take them to the veterinarian for a dental check-up:
- Red or swollen gums, especially around the area of the inner cheek
- Bad breath
- Plaque build-up on the surface of the teeth
- Difficulty eating or not eating at all
Causes of Gingivitis in Cats
There are several causes that are commonly associated with gingivitis in cats:
- Old age
- Crowded teeth
- Soft Food
- Bad Dental Care
- Autoimmune Diseases
- FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus)
Treatment for Cats with Gingivitis
The treatment for gingivitis aims to remove accumulated plaque and dental calculus and also to treat or extract teeth that are unstable or diseased. In order to tackle any dental disease that causes inflammation, regular dental cleanings and X-rays should be carried out with the use of anesthesia.
In order to provide relief for cats with stomatitis, veterinarians may need to remove their teeth for the purpose of creating a more comfortable mouth.
The frequency of dental checkups will be determined by the degree of periodontal disease in your cat. If your adult cat's teeth are overcrowded, or if it has baby (deciduous) teeth, your veterinarian may recommend a tooth extraction. Your veterinarian will show you how to clean your cat's teeth, and you should schedule follow-up exams.
Maintaining Your Cat's Teeth
Regular cleaning with cat-specific toothbrushes and toothpaste can prevent gingivitis in cats. It's important to introduce tooth brushing gradually to avoid any negative associations.
Here are some tips to help your cat get used to tooth brushing and make the process easier:
- Get your cat familiar with toothbrushes and toothpaste. Leave snacks on the counter near the toothpaste and toothbrush so cats can associate something positive with them. You can also place a dab of toothpaste for them to lick off your finger so they get accustomed to it.
- Get your cat used to you touching their mouth. Choose a clickable treat your cat enjoys and place it on their canine teeth. As they become accustomed to it, they start placing it deeper and deeper into their mouth, on their teeth. This gets them used to you touching their mouth and makes it easier for you to introduce the toothpaste.
- Brushing. With your cat used to the toothbrush, toothpaste, and you touching their mouth, it should e easier to brush their teeth. Brush along the gum line for about 15 to 30 seconds, only on the outside of the teeth, and reward them with a treat afterward.
Do you worry about the dental health of your cat? Do they show any signs of mouth pain? Get in touch with our vets in Hohenwald today to schedule a dental examination and potential treatment.