Taking care of your cat’s teeth is as important as looking after your own. Proper dental care is essential to keep your cat healthy.
How do cats develop dental disease?
Saliva, bacteria and food particles combine to form plaque every day. Within 24 hours the plaque may begin to turn into tartar, a hard yellowish deposit on the teeth. Plaque also causes gingivitis, an infection of the gum that is the first stage of dental disease.
70% of cats have dental disease by the age of two, but other types of gum disease can occur even earlier. The major cause of gum disease is accumulation of plaque, which harbours a large number of bacteria. These bacteria can spread to the lungs, liver, kidney and heart, causing infection. Dental disease is painful, even if your cat may not show it. We now have a dental x-ray machine which means that, just like with our own teeth, we are able to foresee problems and help prevent the pain of dental disease for your cat.
Signs of dental disease:
Yellow and brown tartar deposits on the teeth – normal teeth should always be white
A red line along the gum line (gingivitis)
Teeth showing disease
How to look after your cat's teeth:
To help keep your cat's teeth healthy we recommend the following:
1) Regular tooth brushing - brushing will be easier if you begin while your cat is still young, although you may have success even if you start with an older cat, provided it doesn’t already have painful gum disease. You should only use toothpaste specially designed for pets to clean your cat's teeth. If you have difficulty brushing your cat's teeth we also sell a range of dental products such as dental mouth washes, oral gels and granules to add to your cat's feed which have the same effect as brushing your cat's teeth.
2) Feed a special food that works like a toothbrush - in addition to brushing or instead of, you can use a special food. We stock a range of specially formulated diets that help to clean your cat's teeth. The biscuit works like a toothbrush by removing plaque as your cat bites into the kibble. It also has properties that prevent the build up of bacteria in the mouth.
3) Regular check-ups - every 6 months or AT LEAST once a year. Our vets will routinely check your cat's teeth at her yearly vaccination, in addition our nurses hold complimentary clinics to give advice on how to look after her teeth.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE - If your cat is already showing signs of dental disease it may be necessary for her teeth to be cleaned by one of our vets under general anaesthetic. In the more advanced stages of dental disease your cat may also require surgical extraction of her teeth. Please ring to book a complimentary appointment with one of our veterinary nurses to have your cat's teeth checked.