Things you should know about dental disease
Dental disease is a reality for our furry felines. By the age of two, many cats begin to develop gingivitis. By age three, most cats are likely to have some degree of dental disease. And by age four, significant gingivitis is most likely present. Many also have periodontal disease which is slow-progressing but in time can cause pain and affect their overall health and wellbeing. What can you do?
Ensuring proper dental care
Often, cats do not show signs of discomfort from dental disease. Instead, they learn to live with it. The reason is that dental pain and problems erupt slowly with time. However, you need not fret! There are several ways for ensuring appropriate cat dental care. Some of them are below:
- Establish a cat-teeth cleaning routine from a young, tender age
- Schedule semi-annual or annual preventive care exams for your cat, recommended by the AAHA
- Look for signs of dental issues such as bad breath, the build-up of yellow tartar or redness in gums
- Keep a tab on behaviour and mannerisms; if need be, speak to your vet on your visit
- Buy the right diet (The best cat foods use a “shearing index” to assess the kibbles’ ability to remove tartar. These products have gone through rigorous testing to prove that they improve your cat’s dental health)
Progression into chronic pain
If dental disease is detected years after tartar, plaque or bacteria build-up, your feline may have infection, inflammation or diseased teeth. Look for these signs – you may see that your cat has become increasingly irritable or lethargic. Another indication is decreased appetite. When these problems persist, a thorough dental procedure may be recommended.
X-rays are essential
When diagnosing dental disease in cats, X-rays tell us a great deal. Diseased teeth may appear normal to the naked eye. Some cats always have abnormal-looking teeth! Speak to your vet about when to x-ray.
Anaesthesia is safe and less stressful for dental evaluations
As with all dentistry, sharp, sterilized instruments are used by vets and technicians. And cats are just like us, they do not like to stay still during X-rays. Anaesthesia may help the vet make a more accurate, precise diagnosis, and during treatment, decrease the chances of complications.
Plaque removal beneath the gum line is vital
Even more crucial than scaling visible teeth is diagnosing the parts of the teeth residing beneath the gum line. Note that bacteria thrive under the gum line, and can over time cause infections in the roots and the jaw.
It’s Never Too Late to Start Homecare
Between your annual visit to the vet, nothing beats homecare. Make sure to brush your cat’s teeth. There are different pet-friendly kinds of toothpaste available. These come in many flavours such as beef, chicken, fish and peanut butter. Also, plaque and tartar accumulation are preventable. Speak to us at The Cat Hospital to learn what is the best dental diet for your pet. There are foods specifically designed to preserve oral health (we carry 3 types: Hills, Royal Canin and the Purina Veterinary Diet). Call us for an appointment!
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