Cats Need Regular Dental Exams, Teeth Cleaning

Pet Dental Health Month reminds cat owners to monitor their cats' oral health.

Posted: February 1 2008 2 a.m. EDT

Printer Friendly

Cats Need Regular Dental Exams, Teeth Cleaning
The health of cats' teeth is important to their overall wellbeing.
February is National Pet Dental Health Month, prompting veterinarians to remind pet owners that cats need dental care, too, as they can suffer the same negative consequences as humans if their oral health is ignored.

Gingivitis and periodontal disease in cats and dogs have become widespread, according to the California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA). As food particles and bacteria build up in a cat’s mouth, plaque and tarter form on the teeth, which leads to gingivitis and can further develop into periodontal disease. This disease can lead to tooth decay, bad breath, bleeding gums and tooth loss. In addition, when bacteria from the disease enter a cat’s bloodstream, internal organs could be affected. This is treatable if caught early, but could lead to serious health problems if ignored.

The CVMA recommends annual dental exams for pets in order to detect problems before they become serious. Between exams, pet owners should be on the lookout for signs that can indicate dental problems, such as bad breath, tartar buildup, change in eating habits, fractured or abscessed teeth and swollen, receding or bleeding gums.

“All pet owners should start a regular dental care routine for their animals in consultation with their veterinarians,” said Dr. Jeff Smith, president of the CVMA. “With regular oral health maintenance and check-ups, most of these problems can be avoided.”

Cats’ teeth should be brushed daily or at least weekly to combat plaque and tartar buildup, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Although pets may initially resist, beginning in short intervals and when pets are young can help acclimate them to the experience.

Printer Friendly

 Give us your opinion on
Cats Need Regular Dental Exams, Teeth Cleaning

Submit a Comment   Join Club
Earn 1,000 points! What's this?
Reader Comments

Donna    Austin, TX

12/10/2008 10:35:58 AM

Sure wish I had known this when my kitty was a baby. Maybe she would tolerate having her teeth brushed, but it's too late now!

Angela    Fort St. John, AZ

2/16/2008 7:52:36 PM

Yes, I agree, cats - and other animals - need dental care! However, it would be really nice to receive some suggestions as to "how" to get a cat to accept having their teeth brushed. I have a cat who must have her teeth cleaned, and I try to do this every few days; however, she is intent on eating the toothpaste more than having her teeth brushed! Her front teeth present no problem . . . it is the back teeth that are difficult to get at as she has such a tiny mouth (Balinese)and can squirm like a weasal! Any suggestion on how to get those back teeth cleaned would really be appreciated. Also, if a cat has sparkling white teeth, pink gums yet a red line on her gumline - again, along those infamous back teeth - should this cat undergo anaesthetic to have a dental cleansing completed or is this not something to consider at this point?


Angela - toothbrusher of wiggly Aoife the Balinese
Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada
PS had to select the state of Arizona in the box below as you give no choice for Canadian provinces

meredith    bedford, NH

2/14/2008 2:54:44 PM

You should get rid of any tartar on your cats teeth

marsha    colorado springs, CO

2/13/2008 7:19:19 AM

I just started an at home dental care routine for my two cats - one is receptive and one is not so sure about it all! Hopefully with time she will warm up to the idea.

View Current Comments

Top Products