Many people adopt a cat for the first time without knowing it, but cats need regular dental care at the vet's office the same way you need checkups with your dentist. Cats can easily suffer from tooth decay which can lead to the need for dental extractions at the vet's office. It's important to brush your cat's teeth and to bring them in for regular cleanings and exams, but some pet parents wonder if there's a way to tell if your cat is having dental problems. The truth is, sometimes there is and sometimes there isn't. Here are some of the most common signs and some considerations.
It's not uncommon for cats to have bad breath immediately after eating, as cat food often smells strong. However, if your cat's breath still stinks a long time after having a meal, there could be a problem.
When bacteria in the mouth that are responsible for the development of gum disease and tooth decay grow out of control, a bad smell can emanate from the mouth. For humans, using mouthwash can help, but that's not an option for cats. Brushing their teeth may remove the smell, but if it doesn't, you should seek help immediately. Your cat likely has dental decay, gum disease, or both, and may need dental surgery.
Another common sign of cats having a dental issue is difficulty eating. This can manifest in a few different ways. For example, you might see your cat chewing gently on their food, or they may lose interest in crunchy cat kibble. Alternatively, you may notice that your cat is losing weight.
While switching to all wet food in the short term can help your cat get enough calories while their teeth hurt, it's not a permanent solution. Plan an appointment with your vet for dental x-rays to find out what's going on and to get it fixed.
No Indication and Resorption
Unfortunately, cats are stoic creatures that try to hide it when they're not feeling their best. It's a survival mechanism in the wild but often ends up hurting them when a pet parent can't see any signs of problems. In some cases, cats won't show signs of pain and may become reclusive so that it's harder to notice that something else is going on, like their breath being bad.
In addition, not every dental problem is visible from the outside. Cats can suffer from a condition called dental resorption that causes the teeth to decay from the inside out. Dental x-rays and extractions can resolve the problem and save your cat from a lot of suffering and from the potential for a severe infection.
If you think your cat may need dental work, get in touch with a vet soon. Taking care of their teeth is just as important as looking after the rest of their health. Reach out to a service that provides oral surgery for pets to find out more.