Dental Disease in Cats
Dental disease affects over 80% of animals over the age of 3 years old. Early detection of dental disease is vital. If left untreated dental disease can lead to serious problems and affect other body systems. The only way to prevent or reduce the risk of dental disease is to remove plaque on a daily basis.
Signs of dental disease:
- Persistent bad breath
- Pawing at the mouth
- Difficulty in eating
Dental hygiene needs to ideally start from as young as 8-12 weeks. Kittens baby teeth will erupt through the gums between 2-6 weeks of age, then the adult teeth start coming through from 4 months. Getting a kitten used to having a tooth brush in its mouth from a young age will greatly increase your chance of being able to continue brushing their teeth for many years to come. Dental plaque accumulates on the surface of the teeth, this isn’t easy to see but if you look closely you will see a thin yellowy film across the teeth. The plaque combined with minerals in the cat’s saliva will form a hard, chalky type deposit know as tartar
Brushing your pets’ teeth is by far the best method for keeping teeth clean. There are many different brushes and tooth pastes available, just don’t use human tooth paste.
- Use a finger brush at first. Change to a tooth brush when your pet is happy with this
- Brush with a gentle circular action. Make sure your pet is comfortable and treat teeth cleaning as a game or play time
- Start with just a few teeth and increase the number cleaned each time
- Concentrate, initially, where the teeth meet the gums and on the outsides of the teeth. Later, try and brush the inner surface of the teeth
- Push the toothpaste into the bristles of the brush, if you just put it on the surface you pet will devour it!
- Try and brush your cats teeth every day
Some cats, however hard you try are just going to say No! Don’t despair; you can still help your cat. There are commercial dental diets available and have been shown to be beneficial in reducing plaque, tartar and gingival inflammation. We advise Royal Canin Dental diet. These biscuits are larger in size than standard dry food and have a mechanical plaque removing effect through texture and shape. The reduction in accumulations on the surface of teeth is also maximized by the addition of sodium tripolyphosphate, which binds to salivary calcium, resulting in less calculus formation.
Clare Treacher RVN CertSAN ISFM CertFN
Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN)
Certificate in Small Animal Nutrition (CertSAN)
ISFM Cert Feline Friendly Nursing (ISFM CertFN)