Do cats need their teeth cleaned?

Keeping the cat’s mouth in good shape is often a neglected grooming routine. Even caring cat owners do not give much importance to keeping the pet’s teeth clean and healthy. Not many cat parents realize the importance of healthy teeth to the cat’s existence. The dental care needs of cats are not unlike the dental care needed by humans. Cats certainly need their teeth cleaned.

Did you know that seven out of ten cats would already be suffering from teeth troubles at the age of three? Your very own kitty can be one of the seven cats. Teeth are very important to cats. The teeth and the unsheathed claws are the cat’s lethal weapons. Humans mainly use the teeth for eating. For cats, the teeth are more than eating tools. Teeth are survival tools as well. Cats use the teeth to hunt…to kill prey, to tear the prey apart and to chew the meat. Teeth are used as well for protection. Cats fight their predators by using their claws and teeth. Not many people realize that teeth have another function and that is to keep the cat’s tongue inside the mouth. Cats have two sets of teeth – the milk or baby teeth and the permanent teeth. The dental problem of cats can be due to a weak dental structure. This occurs when the deciduous or the milk teeth do not fall out so that the permanent teeth are misaligned. The most common cause of feline dental concerns is tartar and plaque build-up. If plaque and tartar are allowed to build up on the cat’s teeth will cause the proliferation of bacteria. Bacteria will slowly eat the teeth resulting to tooth decay. Bacteria will cause gum inflammation so that the bone socket of tooth as well as the surrounding gums are damaged. This would result to periodontal diseases. Just as with humans, cats too will be overwhelmed by the pain and discomfort associated with abysses and rotting teeth. The cat’s dental concern will be compounded if the infection spread to the cat’s body.

The first sign of a cat’s dental concern is bad breath. The cat will also be drooling and chattering…A LOT! Cats are not really voracious eaters but a pet with dental problem would appear to have poor appetite. The pet would need medical attention. The cat’s teeth would need to be cleaned, the rotting or loose teeth extracted and the inflamed gums treated. Of course this can result to a hefty animal dentist bill. All these concerns will be prevented if the owner had taken to cleaning the cat’s teeth regularly. Cats’ teeth, just like humans must be cleaned too. Brushing the cat’s teeth two to three times a well will prevent build-up of plaque and tartar. Cleaning the cat’s teeth is a challenging task as no cat would want to have its mouth violated. The task would be much easier if the pet was accustomed to the cleaning routine while it is still young. However, this is not to say that older pets cannot be trained to accept a toothbrush and toothpaste. If the teeth are being cleaned for the first time, the cat would certainly hate the procedure. The trick is to let the cat get accustomed to the feel of a finger with a cat toothbrush fitted at the end. The cat would be more accepting of the “invasion” if the toothbrush is dipped on the cat’s favourite food like the brine of a canned tuna. Once the cat is accustomed to the feel of the toothbrush it would not protest every time the teeth need cleaning.