What Are The Signs Of Dental Disease In Cats?

It's likely that your cat will have to deal with dental problems at some point in its life. Untreated dental disease can cause your cat’s quality of life to deteriorate significantly. Bad breath, swollen gums, and tooth loss are just some problems that may result from poor oral hygiene. In more severe cases, the infection can spread to essential organs in the body.

Luckily, there are a number of treatment options available for cats who suffer from dental disease. But first, it's essential to understand the symptoms of dental disease in cats.


What Is Dental Disease In Cats? 

Dental disease in cats is common and includes tooth problems as well as gum issues. It is especially prevalent in older felines. It is estimated that up to 85% of all cats aged three years or above have some sort of dental problem. 

Dental disease in cats is commonly caused by bacterial growth. If left untreated, this can lead to periodontal disease—a condition affecting both the teeth and gums.


Signs Of Dental Problems In Cats

Dental disease in cats can be evident through a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Bad breath 
  • Pain
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Drooling
  • Inflamed gums
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inactivity


Stages Of Dental Disease In Cats

To check your cat's teeth, find a time when your feline friend is relaxed and away from potential distractions. Then gently raise their upper lip and compare the appearance of their mouth to the following:


Clinically Healthy Teeth And Gums

A cat's teeth should be white, clean, and without chips; their gums should not have any sores or lesions. They should also be pink and healthy—with no redness or swelling.



Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) is a common early sign of periodontal disease. You may notice swelling and red lines on the sides of your cat's teeth.

Early Periodontitis

Early periodontitis is characterized by a loss of less than 25% of the tooth's supporting bone. You may see inflammation of the gums, bad breath, and visible plaque or tartar on your pet's teeth. A professional cleaning will be necessary to remove the plaque and tartar, which are responsible for causing tooth decay.


Moderate Periodontitis

At this stage, 25-50% bone loss can be seen on oral radiographs. Your cat's gums will be swollen and sore, making it likely that they'll bleed easily. The gum tissue around the tooth becomes detached from the underlying bone, forming pockets. This may cause bad breath and pain for your pet; infected teeth will need to be removed.


Advanced Periodontitis

Severe periodontal disease is evident at this stage when oral radiographs show 50% or more bone loss. If a pet is not treated for dental problems, it risks losing more than one tooth, developing an infection that spreads throughout its body, and causing damage to internal organs.

A detailed dental examination is part of your pet's annual checkup. Your vet can spot any signs of periodontal disease and treat it early so the condition does not worsen.


Windmill Veterinary Center Is The Place To Be For All Your Pet’s Dental Care

If you're looking for a veterinary practice that genuinely cares about your pet's oral health, look no further than Windmill Veterinary Center. Our team is committed to keeping your beloved companion's mouth healthy and clean. Call us to schedule your pet’s dental checkup today.


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