On average, cats spend up to 50 percent of their day grooming themselves. According to Montecito Pet Hospital, cited below, it's too bad cats can't give their teeth the same attention.
About cat teeth
Kittens have no teeth at birth, but their permanent ones start arriving at about three months old. Three months later, they will likely have all 30 permanent teeth. In comparison, dogs will end up with 42 teeth.
Cats, who are carnivores, need sharper teeth than dogs, who are omnivores. As a result, the fingers of cat parents have likely met the tiny sharp incisors and shearing teeth that dogs do not possess.
Signs of dental issues
Both dogs and cats can wind up with dental problems and pet teeth issues are actually very common. Studies at Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, cited below, estimate that about 85 percent of cats over three and over 80 percent of dogs over three are diagnosed with dental disease. Your cat may need to see a veterinarian if he's been drooling, not eating, has terrible breath, or seems to be losing weight. Because cats are experts at hiding pain, including dental pain, you need to pay attention to your cat's behavior to know when something is wrong.
Keeping kitty's teeth healthy
The goal of keeping your cat's teeth clean is the same as it is for humans - to remove plaque and food particles. Learning how to take care of your cat’s teeth is easier than you think and it can prevent dental problems. At home, keep things simple. It's ideal to start the process when your cat is young. To clean a cat's teeth, Montecito Pet Hospital suggests dipping your fingers in tuna water and enticing your feline to open his mouth. Then, gently rub his gums and teeth with your fingers first, then with a tiny piece of gauze dipped in the tuna water. Eventually, if your cat is cooperative, try a finger brush with specially-flavored cat toothpaste, then graduate later to an actual toothbrush - one with soft bristles, please. Brushing your cat’s teeth with this careful method is a big step towards better cat health.
Suppose your cat is one of the majority who will not let you near his mouth. In that case, it's best to consult your veterinarian for suggestions or get an appointment for a professional feline dental cleaning. According to PetMD, cited below, "ignoring dental issues can leave your cat open to gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontitis (inflammation of the tissue surrounding the teeth) and can often lead to gum recession and even loss of teeth."
Cats with bad dental health can also develop stomatitis or gingivostomatitis (inflammation of the tissues in the mouth). These painful health issues can affect your kitty's gums, tongue, palate, and throat. Keep up with your feline's home dental care, and if you struggle with your cat's lack of cooperation, see your vet sooner rather than later. Loving your kitty includes keeping his mouth clean and will help give you two many happy, healthy years together.
Quote to remember: "A cat in her castle has the teeth of a lion." - African proverb
"Taking Care of Your Cat’s Mouth"
Montecito Pet Hospital
"Interesting Facts About Cat Teeth & Dental Care"
Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine
"Cats that Lick Too Much"