The greatest defense your cat has against tartar and gum disease is you.

Whether you have noticed bad breath, tartar or red gums, or whether you want to learn dental care for your cat early to avoid problems down the track, you’ve come to the right place! Today, we’re going to help you improve your cat’s dental health!

 SIGNS TO WATCH OUT FOR 

First things first, physically look inside your cat’s mouth, or have your Veterinarian do it for you, and look for these signs:

   • Hard yellow tartar
   • Red gums
   • Bleeding
   • Swelling
   • Bad breath
   • Broken teeth

Any of the above signs should be looked at by your Veterinarian as most will be painful for your cat.
 
 DENTAL PROBLEMS IN CATS 

Dental issues in cats can be both common and unique to their species, and not all of them are immediately noticeable:

Gingivitis, most commonly recognised as red and bleeding gums and yellow/brown teeth.

Tartar build-up is most obvious as the hard yellow substance on the surface of the teeth.

Tooth resorption is a disease that is common in almost 50% over 3 years of age and is where the teeth are broken down and absorbed back into the body. This is very painful, but most cats do not show many outward signs. Signs include problems eating and over salivation. Treatment commonly includes extraction of the tooth.

Plasma Cell Stomatitis is another condition that affects cat’s mouths. While most of the mouth may appear fine, the area where the bottom and top jaw meets is bright red and inflamed. This can be treated with professional cleaning and prescribed medication in most cases.

 LOOKING AFTER YOUR CAT’S TEETH AT HOME 

   • Using a soft bristled toothbrush or a Dentipet finger brush and a pet-friendly toothpaste, start to gently clean your cat’s teeth every few days, working up to making it a daily exercise. If your cat really objects to the bristles try using a damp washcloth with a small amount of toothpaste on it to wipe over the teeth.
   • Using dental treats are a great way to polish those pearly whites if your cat has told you in no uncertain terms are you ever getting near him with a toothbrush.
   • Water additives such as Aquadent or Healthy Mouth are a great addition to brushing and keep the mouth clean during the day.
   • Special dental cat food can replace your cats normal food to polish up that smile.

 PROFESSIONAL CLEANING 

Because most people don’t notice when something is wrong with their cat’s dental health, keeping up those regular Vet check-ups are very important and recommended every 6 months.

During a routine scale and polish your cat will be put under general anaesthetic as a thorough check is not possible while your cat is awake. Your vet will look for tartar cavities, gum disease and tooth resorption both physically and by way of x-ray equipment to check below the gumline.

Your cat’s teeth are then cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler and any damaged teeth will be removed. Remaining teeth will then be polished smooth to deter plaque in the future.

Once your cat is back home after his professional clean it is then up to you to keep those whites pearly as tartar can start to appear again in as little as a week if left unattended.