Dental Care

Cat’s teeth are seriously enough to make you smile: Big fangs and teeny-tiny chompers, in one adorable package. Aw, c’mon. I’m a tiger, really I am! Sure thing, Simba, sure thing.

What’s perhaps not as cute is that your cat’s teeth, like your own, can accumulate tartar if they’re not cleaned regularly. And it doesn’t stop there. Tartar can cause gum disease, tooth deterioration, infection, and tooth loss in Smokey. This can lead to pain and difficulty while eating or grooming. Worse yet, dental disease can spread infection to other organs of the body, causing serious and dangerous illness in your pet.

Scratch that! We agree, Fluffy, but the fact is, without proper dental care, 70 percent of cats will show signs of oral disease by the age of three. However, with the help of your pet-lover, you can actually have healthy teeth and gums for nine lives and counting.

Here’s how:

Healthy diet gives Tigger something to smile about.

Feeding your German Rex a good, quality dry food and some wet food other than bratwurst, will help remove the bacterial plaque that can harden into tartar (not to be confused with the sauce, folks). Your vet may recommend special dental dry foods that are designed to reduce plaque and tartar, especially if your kitty is prone to dental problems because of his breed or genetic history: Did Muffin Sr. have a nice smile?

Lend a paw. Brush your cat’s teeth.

Brushing your cat’s teeth is one of those moments where you picture an utter catastrophe, but it’s one of the most effective ways to attack the dental plaque that cause tooth decay, gum disease – you get the picture. Cats young and old can be trained to accept having their teeth brush. The first step is them admitting they need their teeth cleaned. The next is using a gentle cloth and water for short periods, working your way to proper brushing with a pet toothpaste. Scratching behind your ears? Your vet can show you how to brush your Tabby’s teeth for the first time.

Dental checkups – open up and say ‘meow’.

Hisssssss, scratch and howl though he may, taking your cat to the vet for a dental exam is one of best things you can do, as a pet-lover. A good doc will provide a thorough examination to determine whether there are any existing problems or tartar build-up. And if the purring patient (who’s probably not purring so much, at this point) does have tartar, your vet will remove it through professional cleaning and polishing, under anaesthesia. Once the tartar is removed from above and below the gum line of your toothy Tortoiseshell, your vet will send the two of you home with care instructions and a follow-up appointment.

Senior cats and the good old teeth.

As ol’ Pouncer is getting on with age, he will become more prone to dental problems such as loose teeth, tartar build-up and sore gums (gingivitis). So, it’s best to check your senior Shorthair’s teeth and gums regularly, and make an appointment for his annual dental check-up, with your vet. Nailing the issues now can help prevent secondary problems, saving Puss a whole lotta pain.

Keep in mind, though, that older cats can develop health problems that prevent you from giving your old Ocicat his routine dry dental food. And oftentimes senior kitties that haven’t had good preventative care may develop infection in their teeth and gums, which doesn’t give them much reason to purr.

And when this happens, it’s only natural for pet-lovers like ourselves to worry about our senior Savannah needing an anaesthetic to remove his rotten teeth. Just remember, unhealthy teeth can contribute to kidney disease, heart disease and other health problems – even making them worse. And you certainly don’t want your adorable oldie to stop eating because his teeth are too sore. At the end of the day, anaesthetic is less risky than leaving infected teeth, and will restore your cat to a pain-free mouth. So, it’s pawsitively important to speak to your vet and sort out any dental problems for your older kitty.

Smile, Sheba: Regular preventative dental care will keep your teeth and gums healthy, making for an even healthier life – all nine of them.