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Kitty Dental Issues

May 15, 2019

Did you know that our feline friends can suffer from a variety of painful dental problems? Keeping Fluffy’s mouth healthy is very important! However, many people inadvertently overlook this crucial aspect of kitty care. Read on as a local Roanoke, VA vet offers some advice on caring for your cat’s teeth.

Common Issues

Cats can develop many of the same problems as people can. Gum disease is not unusual in kitties. Fluffy can also be afflicted by misalignments, abscesses, and cracked or broken teeth. Feline stomatitis, a painful mouth infection, is another common problem. Another issue that cats often develop is tooth resorption.

Signs of Dental Issues

Fluffy can’t tell you if her teeth hurt, so you’ll need to watch for symptoms. Drooling is a common one. Bad breath is another red flag. Your kitty may chew on one side of her mouth, start preferring softer foods, or take longer eating. You may notice visible tartar buildup or swelling. There are also some behavioral markers to look for, such as hiding, withdrawal, grumpiness, and uncharacteristic behavior or vocalizations. For more information, read our article on Signs of Dental Issues in Cats. Call your vet right away if you notice any of these warning signs.


Believe it or not, you can brush Fluffy’s teeth without ending up in the ER. Maybe. It’s best to start when your feline buddy is young, so she gets used to having her teeth brushed early. The big thing is to make sure your furball knows that she’s being pampered. Pick a time when your cat is on your lap, and start gently touching her teeth and gums. Tell Fluffy she’s a good kitty, and pet her. If she gets uneasy, just stop. Keep doing this until your furry pal is used to the idea. The next step is to start using pet toothpaste. Eventually, you can incorporate a kitty toothbrush. You can also just wrap your finger in gauze.

Other Options

Not having any luck brushing your cat’s teeth? There are other ways to keep your little buddy’s mouth healthy. Ask your vet about oral rinses. Dental-formula kibble and treats can also be beneficial. Finally, make sure that Fluffy always has clean, fresh water. This is important for many reasons, but it’s crucial to your feline pal’s oral health.

Our Advice on Kitty Dental Issues in 2024

What specific role does diet play in maintaining a cat’s dental health?

Diet plays a critical role in maintaining a cat’s dental health. Dental-formula kibble is designed to reduce tartar and plaque buildup through mechanical action as the cat chews, promoting healthier teeth and gums. Additionally, certain treats can have a similar beneficial effect. It’s important to provide a balanced diet that supports overall health, including oral health. Fresh, clean water aids in washing away food particles and bacteria, further supporting dental hygiene. Consulting with a veterinarian about the most appropriate diet can help ensure optimal dental health for cats.

Can dental issues in cats be linked to other systemic health problems?

Yes, dental issues in cats can indeed be linked to other systemic health problems. Conditions like gum disease can lead to bacteria entering the bloodstream, potentially affecting vital organs and causing more serious health issues, such as kidney, liver, and heart diseases. This interconnection highlights the importance of maintaining good dental hygiene in cats to not only preserve their oral health but also to safeguard their overall well-being. Regular dental check-ups at our Roanoke, VA, veterinary clinic are crucial in detecting and addressing dental problems before they escalate into systemic health issues.

How often should cats have professional dental cleanings?

Cats should have professional dental cleanings at least once a year. However, the frequency may vary based on individual cat’s dental health and risk factors. Some cats may require more frequent cleanings, especially if they are prone to dental issues like tartar buildup or gum disease. Regular dental check-ups by a veterinarian can determine the appropriate cleaning schedule for each cat. These cleanings are crucial in maintaining optimal oral health and preventing potential systemic health problems associated with dental issues.

Are there any genetic predispositions or breed-specific dental issues that cat owners should be aware of?

Yes, certain cat breeds may have genetic predispositions or breed-specific dental issues that owners should be aware of. For example, Persians and other brachycephalic breeds are prone to dental malocclusions due to their shortened jaw structure. Siamese cats are known to be more susceptible to dental resorption, a painful condition where the tooth structure deteriorates. Additionally, breeds with large or crowded teeth, such as Maine Coons, may be at higher risk of tartar buildup and gum disease. Understanding these breed-specific dental concerns can help owners proactively manage their cat’s oral health. Regular dental check-ups with a veterinarian are essential for early detection and treatment of any dental issues.

What are some non-invasive ways for owners to assess their cat’s dental health at home?

Owners can assess their cat’s dental health at home through observation and gentle examination. They should watch for signs of dental issues such as bad breath, drooling, difficulty eating, or pawing at the mouth. Checking for tartar buildup on the teeth and redness or swelling along the gum line can also indicate problems. Owners can gently lift their cat’s lips to inspect the teeth and gums for any abnormalities. Additionally, observing changes in behavior, such as reluctance to play with toys or decreased appetite, may signal underlying dental issues. Regular at-home assessments complement professional dental check-ups, ensuring comprehensive oral health care for cats.

Please reach out to us, your local Roanoke, VA vet clinic, for all of your kitty’s veterinary care needs. Our veterinary dentistry services can help keep your feline friend’s mouth healthy and prevent painful dental issues. We are always happy to help!

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