Cat loosing teeth could be caused by teeth changing, dental decay or a dental disease such as gingivitis. If your cat has already lost a tooth, call a veterinarian as there might be an infection causing this and complications may develop.
Causes of Cat Loosing Teeth
Kittens loose their baby teeth (called deciduous) at the age of 11 to 30 weeks. These teeth will be replaced by permanent teeth by the age of 6 months. Before losing their baby teeth, kittens experience sore gums and probably eat less that normally.
Cats over 5 years old may develop feline ondontoclastic resorptive lesion (FORL), a condition developing from untreated gingivitis causing the teeth to decay and fall.
A diet based on soft foods favors the forming of plaque, leading to gum disease and loss of teeth.
The teeth also develop tartar and gum disease or cavities. These can be prevented by appropriate cat dental hygiene and diet and treated by a veterinarian.
Symptoms Preceding Tooth Loss in Cats
In order to prevent your pet from losing teeth you should beware other symptoms which may precede loss of teeth in cats:
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Excess of saliva
- Bleeding gums
- Spasm of the jaw
- Red, swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Plaque (white, soft matter that can be rubbed off the tooth even with a fingernail)
- Tartar (plaque has become harder, and turned into a hard mix of mineral matter and bacteria which has to be removed by a dentist)
- Cracked tooth (with/without pulp showing)
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
- Pain in mouth (cat paws at its mouth, rubs mouth on the floor, shakes head, does not close mouth)
Preventative Care for Cat Loosing Teeth
Brushing cat's teeth is very effective in preventing tooth loss as it removes plaque before this causes damage. You can use a finger brush or a special tooth brush and tooth paste. Toothpaste meant for human use is not recommended, as the fluoride might be toxic for your cat and its foam will cause gastritis.
Hard, dry food helps preventing the forming of plaque on cat's teeth, as it encourages chewing and also rubs teeth.
Chewing on toys is also useful, especially if your cat cannot stand your brushing his teeth.
Massaging your cat's gums with soft cotton once a week prevents gingivitis or at least helps you spot any gum inflammation
Treatment for Cat Loosing Teeth
Make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as you notice any of the symptoms preceding the loss of teeth.
If there is plaque, your veterinarian will clean your cat's teeth.
If the cat has an infection, antibiotics might be prescribed.
Your veterinarian might decide to get a radiography in order to decide whether to pull them out. If the infection has spread he might decide to pull all affected teeth after an antibiotics treatment in order to avoid septicemia (generalized infection).
Cracked teeth might be treated with fillings.
All dental treatments in cats are performed under local or general anesthesia, so that the cat is cooperative.