Vet Info for Pet Parents

Three Reasons Why Your Cat Needs Regular Dental Cleanings

Pets are often neglected when it comes to their teeth. It's typically unintentional; many pet parents don't realize that their cats need to have their teeth cleaned on a regular basis, both at home and by a veterinarian. This is why it's important for you to know exactly what your cat is up against if you're not taking good care of their teeth. Here are three potential health hazards they could face without help.

Tooth Loss

Tooth loss is one of the most common problems a cat lacking in oral hygiene care faces. Tooth loss typically happens due to a combination of cavities and gum disease. Both of these are caused by an excess of bad bacteria in the mouth. If this bacteria isn't cleared away with toothbrushing at home and regular check-ups by your veterinarian, then it forms plaque and tartar, as well as jumpstarting gum disease.

Unfortunately, there are no fillings for cats, so if it develops a cavity or severe gum disease, the teeth often have to be pulled out. This is just one more reason why preventative care is so much better than waiting for a problem to start.

Tooth Resorption

Tooth resorption is another condition that can happen to cats when their teeth aren't well taken care of. The exact mechanisms behind tooth resorption aren't fully understood, but it's believed that severe gum disease and trauma to the mouth can potentially cause this condition.

Tooth resorption is like an inside-out cavity. The mouth starts breaking down the inside of the tooth, which makes it hard to spot without dental x-rays. This is why just cleaning your cat's teeth at home but avoiding the veterinarian's office isn't enough to keep your kitty's mouth healthy.

Kidney Disease

Lastly, it might surprise you, but it's possible that kidney disease is tied to the health of your cat's mouth.

The cause behind kidney disease, like tooth resorption, isn't fully understood by veterinarians and scientists yet. However, it's now theorized that kidney disease could be potentially triggered by a lifetime of poor oral health. This is because the inflammation induced by the bacteria in the mouth doesn't necessarily stay there, and neither do the bacteria. Once bacteria make it to the bloodstream, they can cause tissue damage wherever they go. And since all blood is processed by the kidneys to remove toxins, this can trigger permanent damage in the kidneys that can eventually cause kidney disease.

Taking care of your cat's oral health should be a part of their regular care, just like getting them vaccinations and exams. If your kitty hasn't had their teeth cleaned recently or ever, make an appointment with a cat dentist near you and change that right away.