Cats are reliant on their cat owners for a wide range of things. For proof, look no further than their dental health. It is said that chewing on bones as well as other suitable materials is a cat’s natural method for protecting their teeth. However, there can be no doubt about the fact that humans can do a great deal more for cats’ dental health than what they can manage on their own. Regardless, the important point is that a cat’s dental health is very important for their well-being.
After all, cats use their teeth for a number of important tasks. One excellent example would be the use of their teeth for hunting, while another excellent example would be the use of their teeth for self-defense. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that a cat uses their front teeth for grooming themselves, which has a huge role in feline well-being. On top of this, while cats aren’t quite as reliant on their teeth as humans for chewing and grinding their food, they are still much, much better-off with them than without them. Certainly, being toothless is a survivable condition for cats. However, interested individuals should remember it is perfectly possible for a condition to be survivable while still causing someone’s quality of life to plummet like a stone in water.
Besides this, one more issue should be brought up. Simply put, there are a lot of cat owners who aren’t aware of the importance of cats’ dental health. Thanks to this, they can wind up neglecting this issue even though they are conscientious about their cats’ other health issues, thus explaining the high rates of dental health issues among cats. Those who are curious should know that an astonishing 50 percent to 90 percent of cats over the age of four years are believed to suffer from either one kind of dental health issue or another.
What Are the Most Dental Health Issues For Cats?
Chances are good that interested individuals will recognize a lot of the most common dental health issues for cats. For instance, gingivitis is a very real concern for them. This is when the gums become inflamed. In most cases, this happens because of the build-up of plaque on the teeth, which will migrate closer and closer towards the gums over time. However, it is possible for it to happen because of other reasons as well. In either case, gingivitis is quite unpleasant, not least because it paves the way for worse to follow.
When the bacteria makes it way to the gums, the cat’s immune system will cause the gums to become inflamed. Over time, this can weaken the tissues that are responsible for connecting the teeth to the gums as well as the bone. Something that will worsen the damage caused by the harmful substances put out by the bacteria. Combined, these two factors can lead to periodontitis, which in turn, can lead to loose teeth as well as lost teeth. Unfortunately, while periodontitis can be prevented as well as treated, there will come a point when the damage done becomes permanent. Suffice to say that is a scenario that interested individuals will want to avoid.
Having said that, the most common cause of tooth loss in cats is actually tooth resorption. The exact cause of tooth resorption in cats is unknown. However, it can be both very painful and very unpleasant, which is perhaps unsurprising when the process involves the breakdown of the affected tooth from the inside to the outside. Even worse, most cases of tooth resorption aren’t caught until cat owners notice a pinkish color at the point where the tooth meets the gum, which is problematic because that shows up when considerable damage has already been done within.
Besides these, there is a wide range of other serious dental health issues that can affect cats. For example, stomatitis is when a cat’s immune system overreacts to the build-up of plaque on their teeth, thus resulting in something very painful. Similarly, a cat’s mouth is a common site for cancerous growth, though the good news is that cancerous growths in said location have good odds of being treatable when they are detected at an early stage.
What Can Cat Owners Do to Protect Their Cats’ Dental Health?
As mentioned earlier, cat owners can do a great deal for their cats’ dental health. For starters, brushing their teeth on a regular basis is a good way to keep their teeth clean in much the same way that brushing our teeth on a regular basis is a good way to keep our teeth clean. Under ideal circumstances, cat owners will be able to get their cats used to the practice when they are still kittens. However, it is possible for even older cats to get used to having their teeth brushed. The general recommendation is for interested individuals to get their cats used to tooth-brushing step-by-step rather than all-at-once while using positive reinforcement the entire way. Failing that, there are other potential solutions that might prove useful, with an excellent example being oral cleansing gel that can be rubbed onto the gums themselves.
Of course, tooth brushing won’t be enough on its own. Regular check-ups at the veterinarian are critical for ensuring that potential health issues are caught as soon as possible, which should improve the chances of interested individuals seeing a positive health outcome. This is particularly true because the signs of dental health issues might not be apparent unless a professional puts serious time and effort into looking for them. Yes, there will be cases in which the presence of a problem will be obvious. However, there will be plenty of cases when that will not be so, thus the need for certainty. In any case, if veterinarians do detect a problem, they can recommend courses of action for correcting that problem. Sometimes, that will call for involvement from the cat owner to implement some kind of change to their cat’s routine. Other times, that will not. Whatever the case, interested individuals should do their best to get fully-informed so that they can make the right choices for their cat’s wellbeing.