Gingivitis is a dental concern that can affect cats if they haven't been given ongoing proper dental care throughout their lives. Our Concord vets discuss gingivitis in cats, how it occurs and what the signs and causes of this disease are.
What is Gingivitis in Cats
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums, which are the tissues surrounding the teeth. Cats can be affected by gingivitis to different extents, causing discomfort and pain for them. To address this condition, a tooth cleaning procedure performed under anesthesia is necessary.
Similar to humans, the accumulation of plaque, a mixture of germs, debris, dead skin cells, mucus, and food particles, on the teeth can contribute to this dental problem.
What Are The Common Symptoms of Gingivitis in Cats?
The common signs of gingivitis in cats are:
- Red or swollen gums, especially around the area of the inner cheek
- Bad breath
- Difficulty eating or not eating at all
- Difficulty picking up toys or food
- Plaque build-up on the surface of the teeth
What Are The Causes of Gingivitis in Cats?
The common causes of gingivitis in cats include:
- Bad Dental Care
- Old age
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Soft Food
- FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus)
- Crowded teeth
How Is Gingivitis in Cats Diagnosed?
As natural predators, cats are masters at hiding pain and illness so you will need to keep an extra close eye on the potential symptoms of oral health concerns. Even cats who are eating normally and are active can have significant dental diseases. Bringing your cat in for their annual routine exam is essential to the detection of dental disease, as a vet is often able to identify signs of conditions while observing an animal and checking for symptoms listed above.
What is the Recommended Treatment for Gingivitis in Cats?
Gingivitis treatment focuses on eliminating accumulated plaque and dental calculus, as well as treating or extracting destabilized and/or diseased teeth. To address any inflammatory dental disease, routine tooth cleanings and dental X-rays should be conducted under anesthetic.
If your cat is suffering from stomatitis then it will be likely that your vet will recommend the extraction of the affected teeth in order to make your cat comfortable again.
The frequency of dental checkups will be determined by the degree of periodontal disease in your cat. If your adult cat's teeth are overcrowded, or if it has baby (deciduous) teeth, your veterinarian may recommend a tooth extraction. Your veterinarian will show you how to clean your cat's teeth, and you should schedule follow-up exams.
How You Can Help Care For Your Cat's Teeth
Cat-specific toothbrushes and toothpaste are available for purchase at pet supply stores and can help avoid gingivitis. Brushing should be introduced gradually and consistently so that cats become accustomed to it.
Show Them The Toothpaste and Toothbrush
Leave snacks on the counter near the toothpaste and toothbrush so cats can associate something positive with them. You can also place a dab of toothpaste for them to lick off your finger so they get accustomed to it.
Start Touching Your Cat's Mouth Often
Choose a dental treat your cat enjoys and place it on its canine teeth. As they become accustomed to it, start placing it deeper and deeper into their mouth, on their teeth. This gets them used to you touching their mouth and makes it easier for you to introduce the toothpaste.
Begin to Brush Your Cat's Teeth
With your cat used to the toothbrush, toothpaste, and you touching their mouth, it should be easier to brush their teeth. Brush along the gum line for about 15 to 30 seconds, only on the outside of the teeth, and reward them with a treat afterward.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.