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Dental Problems That Are Common In Cats

Dental Problems That Are Common In Cats

Cats can experience significant pain when they have oral health problems, which can also lead to other health issues. In this article, our vets at Somerset provide insight into identifying common dental health problems in cats and how to prevent them.

Oral Health In Cats

Your cat's oral health is important to their overall health and wellbeing. Your cat uses their mouth, teeth, and gums to eat and vocalize, so when their oral structures are damaged, diseased, or/and stop functioning properly, your cat experiences pain, which will interfere with their ability to eat and communicate normally.

It's important to address oral health issues in cats, as the bacteria and infections that cause them can spread beyond the mouth and harm vital organs like the kidneys, liver, and heart. Ignoring these issues could have serious consequences for your cat's overall health and lifespan.

Signs of Cat Dental Problems

While the specific symptoms will differ between conditions,  if you notice your kitty exhibiting any of the following behaviors or symptoms, they may suffer from dental disease.

Some of the most common symptoms of dental disease in cats can include:

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

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above in your cat, it may indicate a dental health problem. It is recommended that you take your cat to a veterinarian in Somerset as soon as possible for an examination. Timely diagnosis and treatment of dental disease can greatly improve your cat's recovery and long-term health.

Dental Diseases That Are Common In Cats

Although several dental health problems can impact a cat's teeth, gums, and other oral structures, it is important to be aware of three common conditions.

Periodontal Disease

Approximately 70% of all cats will develop some form of periodontal disease by the time they reach the age of 3.

This disease is an infection caused by bacteria found in plaque—the soft film of bacteria and food debris that builds up on teeth over the course of the day. If your cat's plaque isn't regularly brushed away or cleaned, it will harden and form tartar above and below the gum line.

When the bacteria gets trapped below your cat's gum line and against their teeth, it will begin to irritate and erode the structures supporting your kitty's teeth. If untreated, periodontal disease can result in serious gum infection, loose and missing teeth, and organ damage as the bacteria travels throughout your pet's body.


Cats can suffer from a painful inflammation and ulceration of their gums, cheeks, and tongue called feline stomatitis. While Persians and Himalayans are more likely to develop this condition, any cat can be affected.

Cats with stomatitis often experience severe pain and may lose their appetite, leading to malnourishment in some cases. If the condition is mild, it can be treated with at-home care. However, severe cases may require surgical intervention.

Tooth Resorption

Tooth resorption is a condition where a cat's teeth are gradually destroyed. It is a common problem in older cats, affecting about 75% of middle-aged and senior felines.

The process begins with the tooth's hard outer layer breaking down, which causes pain and loosens the tooth. The destruction happens beneath the cat's gum line, making it difficult to detect without a dental X-ray.

If your cat suddenly starts preferring soft foods or swallowing their food without chewing, it may be a sign of tooth resorption.

Preventing Cat Dental Problems

One of the best ways to help prevent your cat from developing dental problems is to brush their teeth routinely and keep your kitty's mouth clean. Your cat's teeth and gums will have a much better chance of remaining healthy if plaque is brushed or wiped away before it can cause damage or infection.

To help keep your kitty's teeth in tip-top condition, bring your pet in for a professional dental examination and cleaning once a year. When you bring your cat to Midway Veterinary Hospital for a dental appointment, it's like taking them to a dentist for a checkup.

To prevent oral health issues from developing in the first place, you should begin cleaning your cat's teeth and gums while they are still a kitten, and they should be able to adjust to the process quickly. If your cat doesn't allow you to clean their teeth, dental treats and foods are also available to help you keep your cat's teeth healthy.

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.

Contact our Somerset vets Immediately if your kitty shows signs of a dental problem.

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