Dental problems in cats can be very painful. As many as 85 percent of cats over the age of three have some form of dental disease, and Gingivitis is the beginning stage of periodontal disease. With sufficient care, this stage is reversible, and our Weldon Spring vets will help you get there.
What is Gingivitis in Cats?
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gingiva or gum tissue that encompasses the teeth. Gingivitis can range from moderate to severe, and in severe cases, cats with gingivitis may have difficulty eating, be extremely uncomfortable, and require anesthesia for tooth cleaning. Plaque is the buildup of food, debris, bacteria, dead skin cells, and mucus on the teeth, and it can contribute to gingivitis.
Signs of Gingivitis in Cats
Some of the most common signs of gingivitis in cats include:
- Red or swollen gums, especially around the area of the inner cheek
- Bad breath
- Plaque build-up on the surface of the teeth
- Difficulty eating or not eating at all
Causes of Gingivitis in Cats
Some of the most common causes of gingivitis in cats include:
- Old age
- Crowded teeth
- Soft Food
- Bad Dental Care
- Autoimmune Diseases
- FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus)
Treatment for Cats with Gingivitis
Gingivitis treatment focuses on eliminating accumulated plaque and dental calculus, as well as treating or extracting destabilized and/or diseased teeth. To address any inflammatory dental disease, routine tooth cleanings and dental x-rays should be conducted under anesthetic.
For cats suffering from stomatitis to have a comfortable mouth, their teeth are frequently extracted by a veterinarian if it is called for.
Periodontal disease severity will determine the frequency of dental examinations for your cat. Your veterinarian may recommend tooth extraction if your adult cat's teeth are overcrowded or if it has baby (deciduous) teeth. Your veterinarian will instruct you on how to properly clean your cat's teeth, and you should schedule follow-up examinations.
Maintaining Your Cat's Teeth
According to the American Dental Association, toothbrushes and toothpaste designed specifically for cats can help prevent gingivitis. So that cats become accustomed to brushing, it should be introduced gradually and regularly.
Get your cat familiar with toothbrushes and toothpaste
Cats will develop a positive association with the toothpaste and toothbrush if you place treats near them on the counter. You can also place a small amount of toothpaste on your finger for them to lick so they become accustomed to the taste.
Get your cat used to you touching their mouth
Choose a treat that is clickable and place it on your cat's canine teeth. As they become accustomed to it, place it deeper and deeper between their teeth. This helps them become accustomed to your touch and makes it easier to introduce toothpaste.
It will be easier to brush your cat's teeth once he or she is accustomed to the toothbrush, toothpaste, and your touch. Brush along the gum line for 15 to 30 seconds, focusing only on the outer surfaces of the teeth, and then provide a treat.