Feline Dental Health Basics

You’re well acquainted with your cat Dexter’s teeth, as he likes to take an occasional swipe at the hand that feeds him, just to amuse himself. What you might not know, though, is that Dexter’s formidable fangs are susceptible to some of the same preventable dental disease humans face. Because you want Dexter to avoid these unfortunate ailments, ask your Ludington veterinarian to get Dexter on the path to good dental health.


Periodontitis is the most common feline dental disease. This condition results when plaque, a soft blend of food, saliva, and bacteria, makes an onslaught on Dexter’s teeth and gums. Plaque hardens into tartar, which irritates tooth and root tissues. Reddened gums, or gingivitis, start first; abscesses and infections around affected teeth follow. Dexter can experience pain, bleeding, bad breath, and tooth loss. His compromised gums enable bacteria to enter his bloodstream, affecting his heart and kidneys.

Kitty cavities

Poor Dexter can also suffer from FORLs, or feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions. This is a fancy medical term for cavities on teeth sides near gum lines. These nasty culprits erode the tooth, causing it to break or exposing its pulp to infection. Severe gum inflammation might also occur.

Regular toothbrushing

Brushing your cat’s outside tooth surfaces helps guard against plaque buildup. Ask your vet about the best way to familiarize Dexter with the tooth brushing process, while keeping your fingers safe and unbitten. Once you’re comfortable with it, brush Dexter’s teeth daily with a flavored cat toothpaste. Please do not use human toothpaste, as the ingredients might cause mouth irritation and stomach upset.

Professional exams

Dexter’s vet will examine his teeth and gums during regular physical exams. Get him checked out immediately if he develops bad breath, starts to drool, or has trouble eating. You want to stop that dental disease before it gets a firm foothold.

Cleaning and polishing

If Dexter’s vet notices tartar buildup or gingivitis, the vet will recommend a complete dental cleaning, performed under anesthesia for Dexter’s comfort and the vet’s safety. The vet will thoroughly clean Dexter’s tooth surfaces, even under gum lines. Dexter will also receive a nice tooth polish to discourage more plaque from sticking to his teeth.

Once your Ludington vet gets Dexter on a regular dental health regimen, he’ll likely experience less mouth discomfort and his breath should be fresher. Hopefully your feeding sessions will be more pleasant, too.

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