Cat Care

Cat Teeth Care

Cat Care > Cats Teeth Care

Cat teeth care

Domestic pet cats are susceptible to the buildup of TARTAR, also called dental calculus, on their teeth. Tartar deposits build up in the presence of the growth of bacteria, plaque or accumulations of trapped food and naturally occurring salts (mainly calcium hydroxyapatite) precipitated from the cat's saliva. This buildup usually affects the canine teeth and also the premolars and the first pair of molars in the upper jaw. It generally begins to accumulate at the junction of the teeth with the gums as this is the area that receives the least wear and exercise.

Once tartar starts to accumulate, more material is deposited on its roughened surface until eventually the mass can be much greater than that of the tooth it is covering. At the same time, the gum becomes inflamed and irritated and pulls away from the base of the tooth, allowing a means of access for harmful bacteria. Bacterial infection in the root of the affected tooth, where it is set into the jaw, can ultimately be the result. The tooth may become loose and there may be an abscess beneath it, causing severe pain and bad breath (halitosis). This condition is called periodontal disease, and it is quite common in pet cats and dogs.

In the wild, cats are constantly having to use their teeth to chew and eat their prey, and this continual exercise prevents the buildup of tartar. However, many domestic cats are fed almost exclusively on soft foods that can be swallowed without the teeth being involved at all. The best way to prevent the buildup of tartar on the teeth of a pet cat is to make sure that the animal eats some hard foods or is given toys and chews to bite on. It is possible to clean a cat's teeth gently using a special toothbrush that can be obtained from a veterinary clinic. (Alternatively, a baby's toothbrush can be used.)

Toothpaste for human teeth should not be used although special preparations formulated for pets can be purchased. The cat needs to be placed on a table and held in a sitting position, by the scruff of the neck if necessary. The toothbrush should be gently inserted into the mouth and the teeth brushed with horizontal and vertical strokes. Brushing can help to prevent tartar buildup in a cat that is mainly fed on soft foods. Daily brushing is probably the most effective but even once or twice a week is helpful.