February was National Pet Dental Health Month, which is the perfect time to talk about the importance of feline dental care. Your cat’s oral health is an extremely important factor in her overall health and well-being. Caring for your cat’s teeth may not be high on your priority list. But our team at Anasazi Animal Clinic in Gilbert would like to relay some important information on dental care for your cat because it could greatly improve her quality of life.
Do cats get cavities?
Cavities, or dental caries, are actually very rare in cats. However, cats can get what’s called tooth resorption. Tooth resorption in cats occurs when their own cells actually destroy their teeth. This initially creates small holes in the teeth that eventually lead to widespread damage of the tooth and tooth loss. Tooth resorption in cats is different from human cavities—cavities are caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria that eat away at the enamel, or the outer layer of the tooth. According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, this condition is very common, affecting 20-60% of cats.
Causes of Tooth Resorption in Cats
The exact cause is unknown, but there are certain factors thought to play a role in the development of tooth resorption in cats, including inflammation, gum disease, and diet. Older cats and particular breeds, including Siamese, Persians and Abyssinians, seem to have a higher risk, but all cat parents should be on the lookout for signs of this condition.
Symptoms of Tooth Resorption in Cats
- Pain with eating
- Chewing on one side of the mouth
- Weight loss
- Food falling out of the mouth
- Not chewing kibble
- Bad breath
- Gingivitis, or gum disease
- Behavioral changes
Treatment and Prevention of Tooth Resorption
The only treatment for severely affected teeth is extraction. This prevents infection and other serious complications. Because there isn’t a clear cause of tooth resorption, prevention is difficult.
Cats are particularly adept at hiding pain in order to not appear weak to predators, so you may not even realize your cat is suffering until she has been in a great deal of pain for a long time. Regular dental checks and X-rays are the most effective way to identify any issues early on, to avoid extreme pain and discomfort in your cat.
Cat Dental Care in Gilbert
Even though cats do not typically get cavities, regular dental care is extremely important, not only to monitor for tooth resorption but also to prevent other dental issues such as periodontal disease. Give us a call today to set up a professional dental exam and cleaning for your cat. It will go a long way in ensuring she lives a long, happy life.