With 26 baby teeth and 30 permanent teeth, cats have fewer teeth than humans despite eating a carnivorous diet. Your cat’s teeth and mouth need regular care and attention to maintain health and spot problems as early as possible. Indeed, the mouth of cats contains an abundant bacterial flora which, thanks to the presence of food debris, can lead to the formation of dental plaque and tartar, and progress to periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease affects the periodontium, which is the supporting tissue of the tooth (“its foundation”). As the disease progresses, the gums, then the ligaments, then the supporting bone become weakened. The teeth start to move, causing pain when eating. Your cat may then have difficulty picking up food, may eat less, or change their behavior around food. In the more advanced stages of the disease, the tooth is no longer sufficiently fixed and held in place and may eventually fall out. Unfortunately, the problems caused by bacterial dental plaque can also spread: the germs can spread around the whole body and cause disorders in the heart, liver, or kidney, with serious consequences to general health. In humans this phenomenon also exists; this is why the medical profession and dentists insist on maintaining our teeth and our entire mouth. It’s not just a bad breath problem!
In this chapter, you will find information about these oral disorders, and how to recognize and treat them. Once the disease is in the advanced stages, it is irreversible and the treatment implemented by your veterinarian is more serious, such as tooth extraction. Do not hesitate to take care of your cat’s mouth as soon as possible, starting when they are a kitten if possible, and remember to ask your veterinarian to do a regular check-up of your cat’s oral health.
Regular scaling and oral care will help improve your pet’s oral health and promote fresh breath.