Gum and dental diseases are common in cats, but they often go undetected. Usually cats aren’t willing to keep their mouths open long enough for their owners to search for evidence of a potential problem. It is very important that the cat to be checked periodically by a veterinarian so that any signs of gum or dental disease to be identified in their earliest stages.
Build-ups of plaque and tartar can cause gingivitis and periodontitis.
Periodontal disease is an inflammation of some or all of a tooth’s deep supporting structures. When food particles and bacteria are allowed to accumulate along the cat’s gumline, it can form plaque. When plaque combines with saliva and minerals, it transforms into calculus. This causes gum irritation and leads to an inflammatory condition called gingivitis.
Chronic gingivitis and periodontal disease can cause external root resorption. This condition is very painful for cats and it can lead to the tooth breaking off, leaving the root behind. About 50 percent of domestic cats are affected by this disorder. External root resorption can be treated and even prevented through good dental care and often checks by veterinarians.
Feline stomatitis is a severe and painful inflammation of a cat’s mouth and gums. In many cases, the condition causes ulcers to form in the mouth. These ulcers can involve the lips, tongue, gums, and back of the throat. There is no single cause of feline stomatitis. Dental disease (especially periodontal disease) is often implicated as a cause of stomatitis in cats.
Another oral disease specific to cats is oral cancer (especially squamous cell carcinoma). Oral cancer is a silent but deadly disease in cats. The signs that an oral cavity tumor is present may include declining appetite, drooling, difficulty in swallowing, bad breath, facial swelling, red and swollen gums, and weight loss. The causes for oral cancer are not exactly known.
Also, feline diseases such as kidney failure, feline leukemia virus, and feline immunodeficiency virus can lead to dental disease.
Make sure that your cat is checked periodically by a veterinarian. Dental disease identified in time can be treated and even prevented through good dental care.