Cat teeth problems are common; unfortunately a lot of cats over the age of 3 have dental problems. The nature of problems that occur in cats may be various; from cavities to periodontal disease. The dental problems may affect the overall health of the cat, as the bacteria from the oral cavity may travel to other parts of the body through blood and cause complications. Typically, cat teeth problems are signaled by bad breath, drooling, pawing the mouth and sometimes sneezing and coughing.
Cavities in felines typically form under the gums, making them difficult to detect. However, some cavities may form on the surface of the teeth, so you may detect them while performing an inspection of your cat’s mouth.
The cavities start forming if the cat has a poor dental hygiene. For this reason, the daily brushing is essential.
Feline Oral Resorptive Lesions (FORL)
The feline oral resorptive lesions are cavities that form at the level of the gum line. These cavities may be painful and the cat will refuse to eat, due to the pain and may salivate in excess; bleeding may also be present. The cat will indicate that he is in pain by pawing his mouth.
Gingivitis in Cats
Gingivitis or gum disease is the inflammation of the cat’s gums. This condition may be caused by the presence of tartar. Plaque builds up due to food residues and if this is not removed in 3 to 4 days, it will calcify and become tartar.
The gums will be swollen and tender and they will have a red-purple color; healthy gums are pink in cats.
The gums will also be bleeding and this may occur after the cat eats or after you brush his teeth. For this reason, the cat will avoid eating.
Gingivitis may be prevented with proper brushing.
Periodontal disease is an advanced form of gum disease. The gum infection will spread to the tissues and the bones in the surrounding area. If not treated, this condition will end in the loss of the tooth/teeth. In addition, the infection may also enter the blood stream and affect vital organs, so periodontal disease may have serious repercussions for the cat’s overall health.
Other symptoms of periodontal disease include bad breath, abscesses, lack of appetite due to the pain and weight loss. The cat may also be more irritable and more aggressive due to the pain.
Stomatitis is a condition that may affect senior cats more often; the condition will manifest through several ulcers and sores in the oral cavity.
The cat will also display symptoms such as excessive salivation, pawing of the mouth, lack of appetite, weight loss and behavior changes (hiding and aggressiveness).
Cats may have orthodontic problems such as wry bites or jaw defects. These problems may be corrected, especially if they cause discomfort and hinder the cat to eat properly.
The orthodontic problems may be more frequent in certain breeds of cats.