Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets. Although daily tooth brushing is advised for cats (and dogs too!), the reality is that many owners aren't able to follow through. For most of us, caring for our teeth and gums has been part of our daily routine for as long as we can remember. Just like it is for you, oral health is important for cats - regular, professional care from veterinarians and home care from pet owners is important to maintain oral health. Daily brushing, dental cleanings and feeding special pet foods, such as Hill's® Prescription Diet® T/D®, can help.
PET DENTAL FACTS
- Periodontal disease is the most prevalent disease among cats and dogs.
- 80% of cats show signs of oral disease by age 3, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS)
- Cats start out with 26 deciduous (baby) teeth. By six months of age, these baby teeth fall out and are replaced by 30 permanent teeth.
- Odontal clastic resorptive lesions are the most common tooth disease in domestic cats. Studies show that about 28 percent of domestic cats develop at least one of these painful lesions during their lifetime.
CAUSES OF PERIODONTAL DISEASE
Plaque is a colorless film that contains large amounts of bacteria. If left unchecked, plaque builds up, creating infection, destroying gums and resulting in the loss of the tissues and bone that support the teeth. Preventive oral care can reduce the formation of plaque and help maintain proper oral health throughout a cat's life.
SIGNS OF PERIODONTAL DISEASE
All cats are at risk for developing dental problems. Once a cat displays any of the warning signs below, serious periodontal disease may be present. Don't wait for these signs, start a preventative program of veterinarian-supervised dental care today.
Dropping food out of the mouth
Swallowing food whole
Yellow-brown crust on teeth
Going to the bowl, but not eating
Change of chewing or eating habits
Pawing at the face/mouth
- Poor Oral Hygiene: Ignoring the condition of a cat's mouth can lead to periodontal disease, tooth loss and other health problems.
- Breed: Periodontal disease is more common in certain breeds of cats such as Persians, Himalayans, Burmese and Siamese.
- Age: Periodontal disease is more common as cats grow older.
TREATMENT OF ORAL DISEASE
- Look for warning signs of oral disease (as mentioned above)
- Reduce the risk of oral disease. The first step in preventing oral disease is a routine physical examination, which includes a dental exam.
- Practice a regular dental care regimen at home. This may include brushing your cat's teeth with specially formulated toothpaste, offering dental treats that work to reduce plaque and loosen tartar (C.E.T.® Oral Hygiene Chews for Cats made by Virbac Animal Health), and most effectively, daily feeding of a prescription dental diet (Hill's® Prescription Diet® T/D®).