Dental Disease in Cats
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Dental disease is often diagnosed in cats, over 70 percent of cats start to exhibit signs of oral disease by the time they are three. My friend Chris’ cat struggled with yellow teeth for a long time until Chris realized that yellow teeth could become a real issue for his cat. Once he realized the best treatment for Mike, his cat, Mike’s teeth started looking pearly white again!
What Should I Look For?
Cat’s teeth are normally white or even a slightly yellow. Your cats gums should be strong, smooth, and light pink in color, except for the specific breeds whose gums are pigmented. Like humans, cats begin to get oral disease when they have a buildup of plaque and tartar. Periodontal disease begins when your cat has a buildup of both of plaque and tartar and doesn’t receive the proper treatment from your veterinarian. The symptoms of Periodontal disease are: red or swollen gums, halitosis (bad breath), and bleeding. A good rule to keep for your cat is, if it looks painful, it probably is. Cats like to hide the fact that they are in pain, if you can’t tell if your cat is hurt, assume that they are at least having some discomfort.
Periodontal disease can cause life-threatening damage to a cats organs like the heart, kidney, or liver. Some immune system disorders can manifest as dental diseases.
Brush Your Cat’s Teeth: It’s the Best Way to Prevent Oral Disease
It may take training and several attempts before your cat will yield to your toothbrush, but if you start to brush your cat’s teeth when they are a kitten then the process will be much easier, but even older cats get used to having their teeth brushed. Cats have daily routines, so if you brush their teeth every night then your cat will even begin to incorporate it into their regimen.
Only use toothpaste and brushes that are specifically made for cats.
Treats that help decrease tartar and plaque are very good for your cat. Most treats come in a variety of flavors like fish or chicken so your cat in sure to find a flavor they like. The ingredients in the treats probably aren’t the highest quality, but they aren’t horrible either.
Myth: Dry Food does NOT Clean Cat’s Teeth
There has always been the myth that dry food keeps you cat’s teeth clean. Cats don’t chew their food enough to scrape their teeth, so there is no possibility that dry food is helping. Chewing on crunchy foods doesn’t help our teeth, so why would it help your cat? Even foods that are supposed to help your cat’s teeth is only marginally useful. Also, the powder from dry food leaves behind a residue that helps tartar and plaque grow on your cat’s teeth.
Raw Bones are Good
Raw and meaty bones remove plaque, unlike dry foods. Cooked bones can splinter and hurt your cat’s intestines, so only give your cat raw bones. If you don’t like the idea of your cat dragging greasy bones around the house then don’t sweat, there are still more solutions you can use to help your cat. Also, some cats may not be used to rich meats and can develop diarrhea.
Most gels and oral rinses are effective to a point; they won’t completely get rid of plaque. The only way to make a rinse more effective is to rub it on your cat’s gums and at that point, you might as well brush.
There are also some pills that can help your cat’s dental hygiene. The EFAC periodontal health advance formula pills have been tested and have shown that they have a positive effect on oral hygiene. The great thing about the pills is that they are easy to use: 1. Open the capsule 2. Put the gel on your fingers 3. Apply to your cat’s gums. The only problem is that they smell horrible, though cats seem to love the taste.
While dental sprays like Leba Dental Spray have been said to remove plaque and tartar from cats teeth, there haven’t been any actual studies on the subject. If you go on Leba’s website they can show you dramatic photos of their product works, however I have never used the product myself.
Cleaning your cat’s teeth at home won’t get rid of the need for professional cleaning every once in a while, it will help prevent dental issues.