Greetings crazy cats! Skye Blake here, checking in with some info you need to know about dental care for cats.
Think about it… you have to take care of your teeth and have regular dental checkups.
So does your cat… Just like your teeth, if you don’t take care of them, they’ll rot and fall out. Ewww!
Let’s look at some surprising things I’ve found while following this trail…
The information here is for general knowledge… always see your vet with questions about your cat’s individual needs.
Who Is Skye Blake?
Skye Blake, Cat Info Detective, is a curious cat researcher (not a veterinarian) who sniffs out expert, reliable sources about cats, studies their information, then passes it on to you!
Sometimes there’s not enough evidence for easy answers, so Skye gives you all sides, explains the situation as thoroughly and clearly as possible, and links you to experts on each page.
Sources are given at the bottom of each page so you can do more snooping.
Dental Disease – No Joke!
Dental disease is a real problem for cats and dogs as well as people.
If left untreated it can actually cause problems that can kill your feline companion!
Since cats are living longer now, it’s even more important to keep dental disease at bay.
It’s painful and causes inflamed gums and tooth loss. When bad enough your cat can’t eat because of the pain.
And doing a bit of wiping or “brushing” daily can end up saving many hundreds of dollars in dental bills over your kitty’s lifetime.
What Kinds of Dental Disease Bother Cats?
The main dental disease in cats is periodontal disease.
Periodontal tissues are what surround and protect the crown, bone and root of each tooth.
This disease happens when plaque (bacteria) builds up until the tissues get inflamed, weakening their ability to protect the tooth.
Bacteria gets below the gumline, eventually causing root decay and even destruction of the underlying bone.
Tarter (calculus) builds up on the tooth surface and allows bacteria to do even more damage.
“Tarter” is calcium salts in saliva that is resistant to removal by chewing or brushing.
In more advanced cases, the bacteria get into the bloodstream and cause serious organ problems, eventually killing your cat.
There is evidence that points to more than diet influencing the occurrence of dental disease.
Genetics have a hand in your cat’s dental health.
You can’t do anything to change genes, but you can focus on prevention.
If you’d like more details, go to “Periodontal Disease is Hidden” by Fraser Hale, DVM, FAVD, DipAVDC, Board Certified Veterinary Dental Specialist, 2011
Here’s a helpful video about dental disease in cats and dogs…
This video discusses the special dental problems unique to cats…
Treatment of Dental Disease
Vets treat dental disease while your cat is under general anesthesia.
This is the only way to properly handle it because the dentist has to work below the gumline, which can’t happen without a fully sedated patient!
They often have to remove teeth in order for your cat to be free of pain and healthy.
This should help motivate you to do your best to prevent the problem… even if it’s just to save a lot of money.
This video is helpful to understand how vets treat dental disease.
It also explains anesthesia-free dental care for cats and why it’s a problem…
In some cases, a cat’s problem is more complex and requires the care of a board-certified veterinary dental specialist.
Your vet might recommend someone specific, or you may want to consult a specialist for a second opinion.
Discover more at “What’s a Dentist for Cats?“
Cleaning Your Cat’s Teeth & More
Now that you know the importance of dental care for cats, discover the answer to that nagging question… “But how do I get my cat to let me clean her teeth?” at “Cleaning Cat Teeth!“
There’s also the great dry food debate…
Does kibble clean a cat’s teeth or is that a myth? Find out some answers at “Dry Cat Food (Kibble)“.
Sources used on this website are either primary or secondary.
Primary sources are always preferable and have the most reliable information because they’re original and directly referenced.
Scientific abstracts and data are good examples of primary sources.
Secondary sources are weaker because they usually consist of opinions or articles that give no sources of their own. Sometimes they refer to primary sources.
When I use secondary sources, most are those with some authority, such as veterinarian or cat behaviorist books and articles.
List of Sources
“Cat Teeth Cleaning Tips & Advice (Written By a Vet)” – All About Cats
“Dry Pet Food and Dental Disease in Dogs and Cats” skeptvet.com, October 17, 2011
“Periodontal Disease is Hidden” by Fraser Hale, DVM, FAVD, DipAVDC, Board Certified Veterinary Dental Specialist, 2011
“Pet Dental Health” – Pet Food Institute
“How Is Dental Disease Treated? What About Anesthesia Free? A Veterinarian Explains COHATs“, Vet Med Corner, October 25, 2021
“Unique Cat Dental Concerns – What Are They? How Should They Be Treated? A Vet Explains!“, Vet Med Corner, November 2021
“A Veterinarian Talks About Dental Disease (Pt 1) How Does It Form? What Should You Ask Your Vet?“, Vet Med Corner, November 2021
Updated November 15, 2023