Cats - Dental Care
Cats have 26 deciduous teeth and 30 permanent teeth; 6 upper and 6 lower incisors, 4 canines, 10 premolars and 4 molars. The healthy mouth should have clean unstained teeth with a healthy pink gum margin around the tooth.
The permanent teeth erupt between the ages of 4 and 7 months. Some animals can have a non sequential eruption which results in deciduous teeth being retained within the mouth when the permanent teeth erupt leading to overcrowding. Such teeth are best removed as they later result in a higher incidence of periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is the major cause of tooth loss in cats. The lifestyle, diet and level of oral hygiene all contribute to the problem. A gingivitis (gum inflammation) develops around the tooth, possibly secondary to tartar formation on the tooth, the bone holding the tooth can weaken leading ultimately to tooth loss. Infection around the tooth socket at this stage leads to a condition called pyorrhoea which further exacerbates the problem. Abscessation is a common sequel of this problem. The treatment is to remove any tartar build up by ultrasonic scaling and polishing, and to extract any diseased or damaged teeth. The indications that the animal is needing dental work are bad breath (halitosis), gingivitis and gum bleeding, gum recession and pain on opening the mouth or while chewing.
In addition to this cats can also suffer from a condition called lymphocytic-plasmacytic-gingivitis which can develop in conjunction with, or as a result of dental disease.
Steps can be taken to prevent or reduce the amount of dental disease. Feeding is important, a diet based purely on soft food (canned meat) allows the build up of tartar. Dried, hard food or treats can aid in breaking tartar off the tooth. Brushing is probably the most effective way of maintaining good oral hygiene. Special cat toothpaste has to be used, human forms are not suitable.
We recommend Hills T-D to reduce gingivitis and the build-up of tartar, plaque and stains. T-D works best when used on clean teeth following a scale & polish to mechanically remove tartar. This can be fed as a complete diet or it can be fed as 25% of your cats daily food intake. This diet does not contain any mineral abrasives or active chemicals. We also recommend other dental home care methods, if possible, e.g. regular tooth brushing.
Available in sizes; 700g, 1.5kg & 5kg bags.
Once the plaque (white sticky substance) on the surface of the tooth mineralises it becomes tartar. Tartar cannot be removed using a toothbrush, it will have to be mechanically removed using a hand scaler at the surgery. This is performed under general anaesthetic.
This handy toothpaste kit contains a finger brush to help start your pets oral hygiene routine, toothbrush suitable for cats, fish flavoured enzymatic toothpaste and a guide to effective oral hygiene routine.
If you would like more information on oral hygiene or if you think your cat requires dental treatment, please telephone the surgery to speak to one of our vets.