Preventing And Controlling Feline Periodontal Disease

Those sweet meows and scratchy tongue aren’t the only things that come from your cat’s mouth. Chances are, there’s bacteria that could lead to tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. In fact, periodontal disease is the most common disease in cats over the age of 3.  85 percent of cats over the age of 6 are affected. Make sure your veterinarian is checking your kitty’s teeth at every visit — and make sure you’re scheduling regular checkups so that dental and other health problems don’t go undetected.

How Do I Know If My Cat’s Teeth Are Okay?

The truth is, you might not notice anything that suggests your cat is developing periodontal disease. That’s why it’s so important to take your feline friend to a veterinarian or cat dentist regularly. You may notice changes in appetite, particularly bad breath or face swelling as indicators that there’s something going on with kitty’s teeth and gums. Make an appointment to see your veterinarian if you notice any of these signs, or if your cat has any mouth wounds or bleeding from the mouth.

What Can I Do at Home?

The best way to prevent periodontal disease is to brush your cat’s teeth at home. It’s best to start this process when your cat is very young so that he or she gets used to it. If you’ve adopted an older cat, or you’re just starting teeth brushing as a part of your regular care routine, be prepared for some pushback. Be patient and just do the best you can. After all, some brushing is better than none at all.

If your cat just won’t allow you near his or her mouth, consider using an oral gel or spray to help keep oral bacteria at bay. There are even water additives you can add to your pet’s bowl daily to help keep his or her gums clean and healthy. 

Avoid using only soft, canned foods. Crunchy and chewy foods help keep your cat’s teeth strong. Ask your cat’s vet about dietary options to help prevent and control oral problems. There are special foods, and even treats, available both with and without a prescription that can help keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

Talk to your cat’s veterinarian about other options as well, especially if your cat is showing signs of periodontal disease. He or she may suggest your cat undergo a professional cleaning or other treatments, such as tissue regeneration procedures to rebuild the gums or bone replacement procedures, if the disease is more advanced.