Feline Oral Health
WHY DOES MY CAT HAVE BAD BREATH?
Kittens have 26 teeth, while adult cats have 30. If each tooth can be considered a patient, that equates to a lot of dental care! Periodontal disease is considered the most prevalent disease in cats four years of age and older. After your pet has eaten a meal, plaque begins to accumulate on the teeth within four hours. This plaque consists of bacteria, saliva and food particles. The bacteria excrete toxins and enzymes that break down the gum tissue. As a result of this bacterial infection, the gum line becomes inflamed and you will notice a very foul-smelling odor from your pet's mouth.
Brushing your cat's teeth can become easy, and once familiar with the activity, he might look forward to it. For the first few days, simply hold your pet as you normally do when petting him. For a minute or two, gently stroke the outside of his cheeks with your finger and praise him.
As your pet becomes more comfortable with this activity, place a small amount of veterinary approved toothpaste on your fingers and let him sample the flavor. Soon, he will consider it a treat. Next, introduce your pet to an animal toothbrush or finger brush. Gently raise his upper lip and place the brush against an upper tooth and the adjoining gum line.
Gradually increase the number of teeth you brush each day, but go slowly and not beyond your pet's comfort level. Build up to approximately 30 seconds of brushing each side of your pet's mouth.
ADDITIONAL AT-HOME CARE:
Numerous home dental care products are available to help you with your pet's dental
care. These include such products as Hills Prescription Diet t/d, veterinary approved Chews, and Oxyfresh oral rinse. We will also gladly give you a teeth brushing demonstration!
BUT ANESTHESIA FOR MY PET'S DENTAL CLEANING SCARES ME!
The risk of allowing dental disease to continue untreated far outweighs the risks associated with anesthesia in all but a few very sick patients. It is true that anesthesia cannot be 100% risk free for people or pets but it is possible make it a very controlled, very low risk event. We utilize the best available anesthetic agents, sophisticated monitoring equipment, and a trained technician assigned to monitor each patient, to create the safest procedure possible for our anesthetized patients.
Ask your veterinarian if a preventative dental cleaning and assessment (anesthesia free dental) is right for your cat).