80% of adult cats have dental disease. And it’s preventable. Bad breath in cats is just one of 7 symptoms that can indicate that your pet has a problem and should be taken to the vet for a checkup.
What causes dental disease in cats?
To avoid dental disease as humans, we brush our teeth every morning and night. This daily activity scrapes away the plaque that’s accumulated due to the food we eat and the saliva and bacteria that exists inside our mouths. Unfortunately many of us don’t think to brush our cat’s teeth even though plaque also exists on their teeth for the same reasons.
If this plaque isn’t regularly cleaned off, it soon hardens and becomes tartar. This will then accumulate and grow into your cat’s gumline leading to infection and inflammation. Left untreated, the progression of dental disease will continue to damage the structures that support your cat’s teeth, causing them to become loose and inevitably fall out.
While all this may sound scary, it is 100% preventable if you implement a regular dental routine for your pet. Book a dental checkup at your local Greencross Vets where they will provide you with a tailored ongoing plan to provide your cat with the care they deserve.
The 7 signs of dental disease in cats
If your cat is showing any of the below symptoms, then they may be suffering from dental disease. Keep an eye out for these changes in appearance or behaviour and so you can take your cat to Greencross Vets to treat the disease before it worsens.
1. Bad breath
One of the first signs of dental disease that you might notice is an undesirable odour coming from your cat’s mouth. While no cat’s breath will smell like roses, you shouldn’t expect your cat to have unpleasantly bad breath. Halitosis, or bad breath in cats, can be caused by a surplus of bacteria building up on your cat’s teeth or inflamed gums, and indicates that you should clean their teeth.
2. Discolouration or build-up of plaque and tartar on teeth
Much like for humans, healthy cat teeth are sparkly white. If your cat’s teeth have a stained yellow or brown appearance, this is often due to a layer of tartar that has accumulated on the surface which must be removed, for example through a scale and polish procedure at your local Greencross Vets.
3. Gum redness or inflammation (gingivitis)
Gingivitis is caused when plaque and tartar grow from your cat’s teeth into and under their gumline, irritating it and causing it to become red and swollen. The more this disease progresses, the more the tooth is separated from the gums and structures that hold it in place, causing irreversible damage and eventually leading to early tooth loss.
4. Difficulty eating or loss of appetite
Dental disease is an uncomfortable experience for all pets, and the pain that develops in their teeth and gums can cause even the most voracious eaters to become shy of their meals. You may notice your cat only eating from one side of their mouth, avoiding their dry food and only eating wet food, or losing their appetite altogether. If your cat is regularly expressing a reluctance to eat, reach out to your local Greencross Vets team for professional advice.
5. Discomfort, lumps or bleeding around the mouth
Pockets of bacteria that grow between your cat’s teeth and gums can become infected, leading to pain, redness, bleeding an sometimes lumps in their mouth. As cats are notorious for hiding any signs of illness, it can be hard for you to spot lumps depending on where they’re growing. Look out for signs such as increased drooling, bleeding around the mouth and swelling on their face and take your cat to see your local Greencross Vet if you have any concerns about their health.
6. Swelling under the eye
Did you know that dental disease is one of the most common causes of facial swelling in cats? Abscesses growing at the base of your cat’s teeth can develop in size, resulting in swelling under the eye and other parts of their face. Seek attention from your Greencross Vets team as soon as you notice unexpected lumps and bumps on your pet.
7. Pawing at the mouth
If your cat is pawing or scratching at their own mouth, this is often an indicator that they’re experiencing oral or dental pain. To resolve this, you must take your pet in for a checkup at Greencross Vets to treat the underlying issue.
Your cat’s teeth won’t look after themselves so it’s up to you to provide them with the right dental care. The best first step is to book a dental checkup at your local Greencross Vets clinic and then to establish an ongoing daily dental care routine at home.