Poor dental health can cause a lot of pain for cats, and most develop dental disease by age 3. Gingivitis is a common type and the beginning stage of periodontal disease. Our veterinarians at Grants Pass can help with symptoms, causes, and treatments.
What is Gingivitis in Cats?
Cats can suffer from gingivitis, which is the swelling of the gums surrounding the teeth. This dental issue can vary in severity, causing discomfort while eating and even tooth extraction in severe cases.
The build-up of plaque on teeth is the leading cause of gingivitis. If left untreated, the plaque can harden into tartar, which can erode enamel and cause gum recession, bleeding, and ulcers.
Signs of Gingivitis in Cats
If you observe any of these symptoms in your feline companion, promptly schedule a dental check-up with your veterinarian:
- 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
There are several common causes of gingivitis in cats, which may include:
- Old age
- Crowded teeth
- Soft Food
- Bad Dental Care
- Autoimmune Diseases
- FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus)
Treatment for Cats with Gingivitis
The treatment for gingivitis involves removing accumulated plaque and dental calculus and addressing destabilized or diseased teeth through treatment or extraction. To manage any inflammatory dental conditions, it is recommended to undergo routine tooth cleanings and dental X-rays under anesthesia. In cases of stomatitis in cats, their teeth may need to be extracted by a veterinarian to ensure a comfortable mouth.
The frequency of dental check-ups will be determined by the degree of periodontal disease in your cat. If your adult cat's teeth are overcrowded or has baby (deciduous) teeth, your veterinarian may recommend a tooth extraction. Your veterinarian will show you how to clean your cat's teeth, and you should schedule follow-up exams.
Maintaining Your Cat's Teeth
To prevent gingivitis in cats, you can utilize toothbrushes and toothpaste specifically designed for cats. It is important to introduce the brushing process to your cat gradually to avoid any negative associations.
Here are some tips to help your cat become more comfortable with tooth brushing:
- Get your cat familiar with toothbrushes and toothpaste. Leave snacks on the counter near the toothpaste and toothbrush so cats can associate something positive with them. You can also place a dab of toothpaste for them to lick off your finger so they get accustomed to it.
- Get your cat used to you touching their mouth. Choose a clickable treat your cat enjoys and place it on their canine teeth. As they become accustomed to it, they start placing it deeper and deeper into their mouth, on their teeth. This gets them used to you touching their mouth and makes it easier for you to introduce the toothpaste.
- Brushing. With your cat used to the toothbrush, toothpaste, and you touching their mouth, it should e easier to brush their teeth. Brush along the gum line for about 15 to 30 seconds, only on the outside of the teeth, and reward them with a treat afterward.
Are you concerned about your cat's dental health? Contact us at Grants Pass for dental care and treatment options to keep your furry friend healthy and happy.