Disease of the gums and teeth is fairly common in cats. Some studies have shown that as many as 50 to 90 percent of cats have some type of dental issue. The good news is that the common types of problems are treatable and preventable. With the right preventive dental care, you can help keep your kitty from losing their teeth.
Just like humans, cats can suffer from a common condition called gingivitis where the gums around your cat’s teeth become inflamed. This usually happens because of a film containing bacteria called plaque building up in the area.
This plaque should be removed regularly, otherwise, it will move toward the base of your cat’s tooth, near the gum. The immune system typically responds to the bacteria and causes inflammation, which is gingivitis.
Some research has found that when the bacteria shifts from normal to harmful, gingivitis can begin. If your cat’s teeth are crowded, the plaque can begin to accumulate. The good news is that good oral care for your cat can help to prevent and reverse this condition.
Your vet can clean the plaque from your pet’s teeth and prescribe an antibiotic which will help to kill the bad bacteria that are on the teeth. In more advanced stages of gingivitis, the infected teeth may need to be removed which can be prevented by regular oral cleaning visits.
If you do not control your cat’s gingivitis, it can cause periodontitis, or gum disease. If periodontitis is not treated quickly, it may not be reversible. In this condition, the tissues that attach your cat’s teeth to the gums become weak. The bacteria and inflammation from the cat’s immune system can produce damaging substances that can attack the gum tissue.
When the tissues that support the teeth and attach them to the bone become damaged, tooth loss can occur. Uncontrolled gingivitis is almost always what causes this condition. Your vet can clean the teeth and remove ones that are extremely infected. Also be aware that this condition can be painful, which can decrease the amount your cat eats and in turn, cause further issues for your kitty's health.
With tooth reabsorption, the tissue inside the tooth begins to break down. This often progresses to the other parts of the tooth. This is a common cause of tooth loss for cats, affecting about 30 to 70 percent of cats. Even though it is a common feline issue, it is not known what causes this condition.
Your vet may first notice a pink defect in your kitty’s tooth where the gums and teeth meet. When this defect shows up, the tooth is already damaged. This can be a painful condition, so you may notice your cat being unwilling to eat or turning their head to one side. The treatment will involve managing the cat’s pain and preventing the condition from continuing.
If you would like more information on feline dental problems, please contact Country Veterinary Clinic located near Yuba City, Sutter, and Live Oak, California.