Dental problems in cats can be very painful. As many as 85 percent of cats over the age of three have some form of dental disease, and Gingivitis is the beginning stage of periodontal disease. With sufficient care, this stage is reversible, and our Poway vets will help you get there.
What is Gingivitis in Cats?
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gingiva or the gum that surrounds the teeth. Gingivitis can range from moderate to severe, and in extreme cases, cats with gingivitis may have trouble eating, be very uncomfortable, and require a tooth cleaning under anesthesia. Plaque is the accumulation of food, debris, germs, dead skin cells, and mucus on the teeth, and can contribute to gingivitis.
Signs of Gingivitis in Cats
Some of the most common signs of gingivitis in cats include:
- 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
Some of the most common causes of gingivitis in cats include:
- Old age
- Crowded teeth
- Soft Food
- Bad Dental Care
- Autoimmune Diseases
- FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus)
Treatment for Cats with Gingivitis
Gingivitis treatment focuses on eliminating accumulated plaque and dental calculus, as well as treating or extracting destabilized and/or diseased teeth. To address any inflammatory dental disease, routine tooth cleanings and dental x-rays should be conducted under anesthetic.
For cats suffering from stomatitis to have a comfortable mouth, their teeth are frequently extracted by a veterinarian if it is called for.
The frequency of dental checkups will be determined by the degree of periodontal disease in your cat. If your adult cat's teeth are overcrowded, or if it 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
According to the American Dental Association, cat-specific toothbrushes and toothpaste can help avoid gingivitis. Brushing should be introduced gradually and consistently so that cats become accustomed to it.
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, 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.
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.