With February being Pet Dental Health Month, dental and oral hygiene is a huge part of keeping your pet healthy, no matter what size or species.
Cats have 4 different types of teeth which develop and may be lost over their lifetime. Have a look at the types of teeth and their purpose below;
As a kitten your cat will normally have the following deciduous teeth (26 in total);
As your cat grows up they will lose their baby teeth and the following adult teeth will appear (30 in total);
Teeth are made up of many different layers starting from the inner pulp to the outer enamel. Problems normally arise when there has been damage to the enamel and other layers or when there has been detachment of the gum to the tooth.
Cats in particular are prone to gingivitis (inflammation of the gum around the tooth) and stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth). Inflammation in these areas can cause separation and lead to food, bacteria and plaque becoming trapped. In addition to this cats can also develop feline resorptive lesions (FRLs) which are a destruction of part of the tooth. These are commonly around the gum line around the neck of the tooth.
Masses or swellings within the mouth can be there for a number of reasons. It is always worth discussing removal or biopsy with your vet as it is impossible to diagnose just by looking at the abnormal area. It’s worth remembering that extra tartar and bacteria in the mouth, means more bacteria in the body generally which can lead to systemic infections and your pet becoming ill. All of these problems can be caused by diet, infectious disease, breeding, malalignment as well as oral dental care.
Signs of a problem with your cat’s teeth or mouth might include the following;
If you notice a problem with your pet and suspect it may be their teeth, then a vet consultation is always a good idea and should be your first step. They may suggest a dental under a general anaesthetic which could range from a Scale and Polish (removal of tartar build up) to extractions of teeth or may suggest some preventative dental care treatment.
Preventative dental care top tips
We hope you have learned more about your cat and their dental health.