Cat gum disease is caused by a lack of dental hygiene. Plaque and tartar are the precursors of gum disease that can turn into periodontal disease, which is dangerous and can attack the bone and ligaments around the teeth.
Signs of Gum Disease
Gum disease occurs in more than 80% of cats over the age of 3. The signs of gum disease may be detected and if this is done in a timely manner, the disease can sometimes be reversed. The major symptoms of gum disease in cats include:
- Bad breath or halitosis
- Red, swollen gums that often bleed
- Yellow and brown deposits near the gum line (tartar)
- Lack of appetite
- Pawing of the mouth area
- Rubbing the face against floors, furniture or walls
- Facial swelling
- Difficulty chewing and swallowing
- Gum edges may look like crusts (in advanced cases of gum disease)
Causes of Gum Disease
Cat gum disease is typically caused by poor oral hygiene, plaque and tartar buildup. However, when the teeth are crooked, it may facilitate the occurrence of gum disease. Genetics and breed can also play an important role in the development of gum disease. Some cats might be able to fight gum disease, while others will have gum disease at an earlier age. Pure breed cats are more prone to developing gum disease.
Types of Gum Disease
Gum disease can take different forms. The mildest is gingivitis, which means that only the gum tissue is swollen and infected. Gingivitis occurs when there are deposits of tartar near the gum line, and these will allow harmful bacteria to attack the gum tissue, causing inflammation. If the disease advances it will cause periodontal disease, which will attack the alveolar bone and the surrounding ligaments, causing the loss of teeth.
Gum disease can also take the form of plasmactic lymphocitic stomatitis, which occurs when the cat is allergic to the plaque deposits. A cat with stomatitis will have inflamed gums.
Preventing Gum Disease
Gum disease can be prevented with regular brushing, kibble food diet, chew treats and a periodic professional cleaning.
You can purchase toothbrushes and toothpastes created specially for cats, and try introducing the teeth cleaning as early as possible. At first you can use your finger to get your pet used to brushing, and then you can gradually introduce the toothbrush.
Kibble food can prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar. Chew treats and chew toys are also recommended for a healthy dental hygiene. Make sure you get some non-splintering bones for your cat, which can also prevent the buildup of plaque.
When brushing your cat’s teeth, look for tooth decay signs, discolored teeth and check if there are broken or loose teeth. Early detection can prevent a lot of health issues.
Gum disease does not only affect the gums and teeth. The bacteria can travel from the gums to the internal organs and can cause fatal illnesses.