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Top Tips for Our Cat’s Dental Health

Dogs may have 42 teeth, but cats only have a 30-tooth smile. And while that doesn’t make their smile and tooth-bearing yawns any less important, it is a great way to remember that our cat's dental health is just as important as their catnip, sisal scratchers, and snuggle time.

Cat Cavities

cats dental vet organicsVeterinarians tend to get fewer questions, and have fewer conversations about feline dental health. It may be for a number of reason, but one of the biggest is that cat guardians are intimidated by their fur-baby’s teeth. Those cute little canines can look like fierce, saber-tooth fangs when we think about trying to get kitty to sit still for a brushing. However, cat cavities are real. And while they are rare, they can occur for a number of reasons. High-sugar diets, differences in oral bacteria, and lifestyle can all play a role. Cat cavities are not only painful to endure, they are painful to treat and repair, just like for humans. So, the best course for our kitten companions is to take preventative measures.

Our Cat’s Dental Health

Cat’s Dental vet organicsCats can’t regrow their teeth, so our cat’s dental health needs to be something we pay attention to, as their cat guardians. They aren’t like sharks, who can regrow their teeth. And they aren’t like rodents, whose teeth keep on growing. They have baby teeth, followed by 30 permanent teeth.
  • A monthly check-up is the best way to ensure our fur-babies are healthy. Our cat’s dental health depends on our ability to notice and report swollen gums or inflammation to the vet.
  • Problems swallowing, excessive salivation, and weight loss are also symptoms to look for. Even though we may want to focus on the teeth and gums themselves, these symptoms can mean something serious, like stomatitis, a disease that develops from our cat’s dental health.
  • Tooth extraction is often the only thing we can do for our cat’s dental health if a problem is left unchecked. While it is more common in senior cats, cavities, breaks, and weak enamel can happen at any age.

Am I a Bad Cat Parent for Not Brushing Cat Teeth?

Cat’s Dental vet organics We get it. Cats can be fiercely independent and a little intimidating when we get a look at those high gloss fangs. We are still good cat guardians even when we don’t brush our cat companion’s teeth. Instead, we can do the following.
  • Do monthly self check-ups by taking a good look at their teeth and gums. We can catch glimpses when they yawn in our face, but we can also gently wrap them in a blanket and conduct a very short, gentle tooth check, once per month.
  • Diet is a primary contributor to our cat’s dental health. They love little extras like treats and the occasional dollop of ice cream. Just remember, it’s the sugar that can cause changes in mouth bacteria and tooth decay, not to mention digestive discomfort because cats are lactose intolerant.
  • Regular cleanings are one of the best preventative measures we can take as well. During their yearly check-up, the vet will take a quick look at their teeth. If x-rays or a cleaning is highly recommended, do it. Not only will they have cleaner teeth, they’ll have better overall health. Cat dental health is the gateway to diseases or a long life.
  • Cat chew treats that are approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) will also help to reduce tartar and can be a fun, tasty treat or toy.
We love our furry felines and we know our cat’s dental health is an important piece of the healthy-, happy-cat puzzle. We are not bad pet-parents for not brushing their teeth ourselves, but we are creating a risk to their health and future, if we don’t at least manage their dental health. And now we have a to-do items to add to the calendar - so follow-up will be effortless. Does your cat have a purrrfect smile? Or does he have a Cheshire cat grin? Is she a little snaggletooth? Or are your kitties always stern-faced when you come home? Share it with us on Facebook and Instagram, using #VetOrganics. We would love to hear your stories or see your fur babies.

Michelle Lievense

Michelle is a writer and ghostwriter, specializing in wellness, sustainability, and global social change. She is particularly fond of serving ethical organizations who contribute to a better life for people and animals through humane and environmentally responsible missions. At Vet Organics, Michelle uses her time as a vet tech, her academic studies in animal science and behavior, and nearly a decade working on a ranch teaching animal husbandry to write on a variety of cat and canine health topics. When she isn't writing, Michelle can be found hiking in the mountains of Colorado with her dogs or snuggled up with a good book and her cats.

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