Cat Dental Tips: Signs of Healthy Teeth

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Cat Dental Tips: Signs of Healthy Teeth


The oral cavity is essential to the overall health of cats. They use their mouths for hunting, eating, and grooming—they may spend up to 25% of their day grooming as they are very clean creatures. In addition, the mouth is the first part of the digestive tract, so a healthy mouth supports a healthy GI tract. As a veterinary dental clinic (with locations in Colorado Springs and Castle Rock), our veterinary dentists have a few cat dental tips when it comes to keeping your feline’s teeth happy and healthy.


Cat Teeth Basics


Cats have 30 permanent teeth which erupt by the time they are 7 months of age. When a cat has a healthy mouth, they tend to eat well without discomfort, groom themselves readily, and do not have halitosis (bad breath). As both predator and prey animals, it goes against a cat’s instincts to show outward signs of pain that may imply weakness. This behavior makes spotting dental trouble in your cat difficult for the untrained eye. However, there are common clinical signs and symptoms that may clue the astute pet owner to the fact that their feline friend is experiencing oral discomfort.


Signs of Dental Pain


Signs of periodontal disease in cats or other feline dental disease include bad breath, decreased appetite, weight loss and a reluctance to groom. Vomiting may occur if they are swallowing their food whole rather than chewing food in order to bypass painful teeth. Some cats may even growl at the food bowl as if they are angry because they are unable to eat without pain. A matted coat may also be observed due to decreased grooming behavior.


Signs of Healthy Teeth


For the cat owner, it can be challenging to evaluate the oral cavity of cats as they do not pant as readily as dogs, and they tend to be reluctant to open their mouths for evaluation. When a veterinarian examines the oral cavity, the teeth, tongue, and surrounding oral tissues are evaluated.

What do we look for when we examine your cat’s mouth?

  • The crowns should be clean, free of tartar accumulation and not broken.
  • The gingiva (gum tissue) should be pink in color. If gingivitis is present, the gums will appear bright red and may bleed.
  • Dental radiographs will be required to evaluate the entire tooth, including the root structure. Cat teeth have a longer root structure than crown structure, with sixty percent of the tooth being comprised of the root and located below the gum line.


Cat Teeth Cleanings in Colorado Springs


At Animal Dental Care and Oral Surgery, we recommend a professional cleaning under anesthesia, also known as a COHAT (Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment), at least once a year. If you believe your feline friend may be experiencing oral discomfort or simply bad breath, please call us to schedule a consult with a cat teeth dentist.



Image by Juraj Varga from Pixabay (6/26/2019)