Teeth are a vital part of your cat’s anatomy, providing your cat with an effective method of quickly dispatching their prey. Cat owners have begun to pay attention to dental care in cats. This is of vital importance because not only does poor hygiene have an effect on the teeth, but it has also been proved that it can have an effect on other organs of the body.
Cats have two sets of teeth – Kitten (deciduous) teeth and adult (permanent) teeth.
Kitten teeth begin to fall out at about three months of age.
Kittens have 26 teeth and adult cats have 30.
- The small teeth at the front are called deciduous incisors they begin to show at about 2 weeks
- The long pointed teeth next to the front teeth are called deciduous canines; they begin to show at about 3 – 4 weeks
- The teeth between the canine and molar teeth are the deciduous pre-molars. They begin to show at about 4 – 6 weeks
- By 8 weeks a kitten should have all its teeth
- Incisors begin to show at about 12 – 14 weeks
- Canines, pre-molars and molars begin to show at about 4 – 6 months
- By 7 months a cat should have all its adult teeth
Dental problems are a common health risk in cats, simply because we are not aware of them. Your cat cannot complain with a toothache, the way a child might.
Symptoms of dental disease include bad breath, reddened gums, yellowish-brown tartar on teeth and drooling. When gingivitis is severe, cats may even drop food from their mouths, chew only on one side and lose weight because they are unable to eat.
It is very important to remember that many cats with severe dental disease do not show any signs at all. Cats are experts at hiding their illness, but this doesn’t mean the cat is not in great pain. This is why it is important for you to check your cat’s teeth and why dental check-ups at the vet’s are vital, particularly for older cats.
If you notice any problems, take your cat to the vet as it will be too late to start brushing. Your vet may recommend specialist dental care to remove any loose or damaged teeth and de-scale using ultra-sonic vibration, which gently removes plaque and tartar without damaging the surface of the teeth.
Tartar Build Up:
Tartar build up can also erode the gums, leaving them exposed and raw. This is a condition just looking for an infection to brew in. If your cat’s gums get infected without you noticing, it can lead to a whole host of illnesses. Your cat’s teeth should be cleaned by a veterinarian at least once a year. This will require sedating the cat, for its safety and the doctors!
This disease is caused by the tartar and plaque build up on the cats teeth. Bacteria will grow rapidly, causing the cat to have very bad breath. The bacteria can cause a severe infection in the cat’s mouth. If this is left untreated it will lead to severe tooth and gum disease and could even spread to your cat’s other organs.
Feline steatites is an inflammation in the cat’s mouth. It is also caused by bacteria and is a very common dental problem in cats. If you don’t treat this condition it can lead to swelling of the gums and mouth in general.
It can even spread into your cat’s throat, running the risk of shutting off its airway! Your cat will have bad breath and will show signs of pain when trying to eat. His gums will look swollen and irritated. This is serious…call your vet immediately.
By examining your cat’s teeth on a regular basis, you will be able to detect problems at an early stage. Prevention really is the best medicine.