Cats do grow their teeth when they lost their first ones. Same as with humans, cats also have two sets of teeth- milk teeth and permanent teeth. Lost permanent teeth will never grow back.
The milk teeth of kittens appear between thirteen and fifteen days. They are replaced by permanent teeth between five and seven months. During this period their gums are very tender thus cats at this age would find eating very uncomfortable. Adult cats have 30 teeth- 12 incisors, 4 canines, 10 premolars, and 4 molars. Cats are hunters. Their teeth are designed to chew dry foods, bones, meat of prey and other tough substances. Chewing of bones and meat of prey cleanse the teeth. The abrasive hair, feathers and bones of prey help maintain the good condition of the teeth and the gums. However, most domestic cats never have the opportunity to hunt. Domestic cats are generally fed dry foods. This results to accumulation of tartar. Tartar build up is one of the causes why cats lose their teeth. Lost permanent teeth will no longer be replaced as they never grow back.
Cats have the inclination to gnaw hard objects and substances. This is one of the reasons why cats lose their permanent teeth. The teeth can get broken if the cat chewed hard objects. Diet would also affect tartar and plaque formation in the cat’s teeth. The most common dental problem in cats is a condition called Feline odontoclastic resorotive lesions. Feline dental disease is a true medical condition and one of the leading causes of cat teeth falling out. Tartar build up often causes gum irritation. It causes the roots of the tooth to become exposed. Plaque is produced in the cat’s teeth every six hours. Over time, plaque forms into a hard yellow brown substance called tartar. This plaque to tartar cycle can cause serious dental health problems like gingivitis, gum abscess, periodontitis, tooth loss and bone loss. There are 300 types of bacteria that naturally live in your pet’s mouth. The bacterial infection arising from these dental concerns can have serious effects on the cat’s vital organs. Once tartar has developed on the cat’s teeth, an animal dentist’s attention will be necessary as brushing would not be enough to remove the tartar.
Kittens would suffer from teething pains and discomfort. The soreness of the gums makes it hard for the kitten to eat or play. Teething toys are commonly given to cats at this stage to alleviate the discomfort and pain caused by sore gums. Cats are stoic to pain. They may not show signs when suffering from broken tooth. A broken tooth can lead to more serious health concerns if it is neglected. Cats may develop serious systemic bacterial infection from the infected broken teeth.
Brushing your cat’s teeth is the most effective way of preventing tooth loss. You can use a finger brush or a tooth brush specially designed for cats. Toothpaste formulated for animals must be used as well. Getting the pet accustomed to the feel of a finger inside its mouth would make the brushing routine easier. Place a dab of the pet’s favourite food in the finger. Put the finger into the cat’s mouth and move it on a circular motion over the teeth and gums. Do this several times a week. After a few sessions the cat will be comfortable with having the fingers in its mouth. The cat will then be more cooperative during teeth brushing time. Massaging the cat gums with soft cotton once a week can prevents gingivitis. It is important to always check the cat’s mouth. Monthly oral examination can uncover hidden diseases. Vet consultation is imperative as soon as problems associated with the pet’s health are noticed.