What is involved in cat dental care?

There's quite a bit of stuff that can be done at home for dental care and none of it's all that hard. Sometimes it's as easy as feeding your cat some treats or mixing something into their drinking water, but teeth are a significant part of their life. We can see some secondary issues arise due to poor dental health. Of course, teeth are what they use to eat, just like you and I, so sometimes if they have some soreness or an infection, or even something gingivitis going on, it can make them not want to eat so well. That’s why cat dental health is pretty important.

Dr. Cara Hill
Advanced Animal Care

How does dental health impact the overall health and well-being of my cat?

It ties into all of it. Sometimes we can see plaque and tartar that harbor bacteria on the teeth, leading to an infection of a heart valve. Sometimes we see it lead to liver or kidney disease. And then, of course, as I said earlier, it can cause some soreness and discomfort. And so, sometimes it even makes pets not want to eat.

And believe it or not, that's how we ran into Sonny. Sonny had a terrible dental infection in his mouth, and he came to us. And his owners, unfortunately, weren't able to provide the dentistry care that he needed. And so, they let us adopt him from them, and he became our clinic cat, and we were able to give him the dentistry help that he needed to make him comfortable. And he has been a totally different cat ever since.

What types of dental care should I be giving my cat at home?

My two favorite things for cats are going to be dental treats, of which there's a lot out there. Over the counter, you can buy Greenies—dental Greenies or feline Greenies. We carry Virbac IntelliDent dental treats, and I like those. They have some components to them that help to work and reduce that plaque and tartar accumulation in your cat's mouth, as well as help with freshening breath.

Not all cats like treats, though, so the other option is this Vetradent water additive, and that's a powder or a liquid that you can mix into their drinking water that helps reduce that plaque and tartar accumulation, as well as freshen breath. And the nice thing about both of these products is they're safe to give to any kitty, even if they have a pre-existing condition or disease.

What are some signs and symptoms of issues with oral health in my cat?

Sometimes you'll see a kitty favoring one side, so they're kind of chewing and holding their head to one side. Sometimes they're dropping food and, other times, they don't want to eat at all. And if you have a friendly kitty at home that will let you look, sometimes you can notice that their gums seem red or inflamed. Sometimes I even see things like diarrhea develop or vomiting. And then, if it goes on long enough and we don't pick up on some of those more subtle symptoms, we can even see things like weight loss occur.

How do veterinarians diagnose dental problems in cats?

We do that during a routine exam, of course. Hopefully, every kitty is willing to let us look at their mouth, but some of them are more stressed here at the vet. So if you're comfortable looking at your cat's teeth at home, you can do that. But the easiest way for me to look is doing a routine dental exam, like what I'm doing here right now. See Sonny's due for another dental cleaning there. But the best time for us to look and explore a mouth is when they're under general anesthesia. We can look at what's going on, specifically with the teeth. If your veterinarian can do dental radiography, then we can do that while they're under general anesthesia and get a better complete dental picture.

What are some possible conditions caused by poor cat dental health, and what are the treatments?

We can run into things like gingivitis in kitties. Cats are special too, in the sense that they can develop some conditions in their mouth where their body absorbs back the root of the teeth. And so, that's where dental x-rays are helpful. As I said earlier, in a really infected mouth, we can run into kidney infections or kidney disease, liver disease, and complications with the heart.

Thankfully, it's as simple as bringing your cat to the vet and having their mouth checked, as well as keeping them on some dental products at home to try to maintain their teeth the best you can in between dental cleanings.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 625-5678, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Cat Dentistry/Dental - FAQs

Dr. Cara Hill
Advanced Animal Care

What products do you think I should be using to help with my cat's dental care at home?

Owners always ask me, "Dr. Hill, do I have to brush my cat's teeth?" And I tell them unless you're brushing them twice a day every day like you and I generally do it, brushing isn't super effective when you only do it here and there. So, what I like to do is offer them either cat dental treats in the form of the Feline Greenies, Virbac C.E.T. IntelliDent treats that we carry, or by offering a water additive like this Vetradent water additive to help manage their teeth at home. Those are easier things than brushing your cat's teeth, and you can provide those every day to help manage their dental care at home.

Can cats get cavities?

Cats can get cavities. Many times, cats end up getting what we call things like neck lesions, which is kind of like a cavity where the tooth meets the gumline. Cats are also prone to resorbing their tooth roots, so there are some cap dentition things that can occur.

Since I'm not brushing my cat's teeth, per se, are there any chew toys that can serve that same purpose?

I'm sure some chew toys are out there, but I know many cats are not big chewers. However, if you have a cat that’s a chewer, I'm sure you can find a chew toy out on the internet through Amazon or other places like that. But I like to feed my cat dental treats because it’s kind of like a reward and dental care all in one.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 625-5678, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.