Many pet owners don’t realize that dental health is an essential component of a pet’s total health! The truth is, when dental health is neglected, plaque and tartar build up and spread infection. Over time, oral bacteria can even enter the bloodstream and cause serious complications in the heart and other organs.
At Annapolis Cat Hospital, we work to prevent dental disease with routine dental exams and dental cleanings. During your cat’s regular wellness exam, your veterinarian will examine the teeth and gums for signs of dental diseases, including:
- Bad breath
- Yellow or brown teeth
- Inflamed gums
- Loose or missing teeth
- Mouth pain or bleeding
- Tartar and calculus build up
- Fractured teeth
- Damage to enamel
- Tumors or excessive gingival tissue
- Correct bite
If we notice these signs, we may recommend a professional dental cleaning. Dental cleanings are performed under general anesthesia so that your veterinarian can thoroughly clean under the gumline, where most plaque and tartar hide.
Taking Care of Your Cat’s Teeth at Home
Taking care of your cat’s teeth between visits is the best way to promote a healthy mouth. Ideally, a cat’s teeth should be brushed every day with a pet-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste, but even brushing once or twice a week is beneficial!
Many cats are resistant to brushing, but there are a few tricks you can use to help your cat grow accustomed to it. First, give your cat a small sample of the toothpaste to introduce the taste. When brushing, use gentle motions. Afterwards, reward your cat with playtime, affection, or a healthy treat to positively reinforce the brushing process.
If you cat does not accept brushing, there are dental diets, chews, treats, and toys that can help break down plaque and tartar between visits. Ask your veterinarian to make recommendations based on your pet’s specific needs.