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Common Cat Dental Problems

Dental issues can inflict considerable discomfort on your cat and lead to further health complications. Today, our vets in Chino Hills discuss how to identify dental health concerns in your feline companion, the general dental diseases affecting cats, and approaches to prevent or address these issues.

Your Cat's Oral Health

Your cat's oral health is crucial for its overall well-being. Cats use their mouth, teeth, and gums for eating and vocalization. When these oral structures are diseased or damaged, it can interfere with proper functioning, resulting in discomfort for your cat and restricting its ability to eat and communicate effectively.

Moreover, the bacteria and infections responsible for many oral health issues in cats can spread beyond the mouth if left untreated. This spread of infection throughout the body can lead to damage in vital organs such as the kidneys, liver, and heart, significantly impacting your cat's health and longevity.

Cat Dental Disease Symptoms

Specific symptoms will differ between conditions; however, if you notice any of the following behaviors or symptoms, your cat may show tooth problem symptoms.

Some of the most common symptoms of cat teeth problems can include:

  • Bad Breath (halitosis)
  • Excessive drooling
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty with or slow eating
  • Missing or loose teeth
  • Visible tartar
  • Bleeding, swollen, or noticeably red gums
  • Pawing at their teeth or mouth

If you notice any of the above signs of dental disease in your cat, bring it to your Chino Hills veterinarian as soon as possible. The sooner your cat's dental disease is identified and treated, the better off they will be in the long run.

Common Cat Dental Diseases

While there is a wide range of health issues that can affect your cat's gums, teeth, and other oral structures, there are three particularly common conditions to watch out for. 

Periodontal Disease

Approximately 70% of all cats will develop some form of periodontal disease by the time they reach the age of 3.

This disease is an infection caused by bacteria found in plaque—the soft film of bacteria and food debris that builds up on teeth over the course of the day. If your cat's plaque isn't regularly brushed away or cleaned, it will harden and form tartar that extends below their gum life.

When bacteria become trapped beneath your cat's gum line and against their teeth, it irritates and erodes the structures that support their teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease will result in a serious infection of your cat's gums, loose and missing teeth, and organ damage as the bacteria spreads throughout his body.


Feline stomatitis is an exceptionally painful inflammation and ulceration—resulting in the formation of sores—within your cat's gums, cheeks, and tongue.

While Persians and Himalayans are predisposed to developing this condition, stomatitis can affect any cat.

Cats afflicted by this condition often experience severe pain and exhibit reduced appetites. In certain instances, they may even become malnourished due to the excruciating discomfort associated with eating. If your cat develops a mild case, providing at-home care may be sufficient to address its stomatitis. However, severe cases necessitate surgical intervention.

Tooth Resorption

Tooth resorption in cats entails the gradual deterioration of one or multiple teeth within your cat's oral cavity. This condition is fairly general among cats, potentially impacting up to three-quarters of middle-aged and older felines.

In cases of tooth resorption, the body initiates the breakdown of the tooth's hard outer layer, resulting in loosening and discomfort. Without a dental x-ray, this degradation occurs beneath your cat's gum line, making it too challenging to identify. Such a condition may manifest if your cat abruptly displays a preference for soft foods or begins to swallow their food without adequate chewing.

Preventing Dental Issues in Cats

The most effective method for preventing the development of dental problems in your cat is through regular brushing and cleaning of its mouth. By routinely brushing or wiping away plaque, you significantly increase the likelihood of maintaining your cat's teeth and gums in good health, thus reducing the risk of damage or infection.

To ensure your feline companion's dental well-being, it's recommended that you schedule a professional dental examination and cleaning once a year. At TLC Animal Clinic, our cat dental appointments resemble visits to a veterinary dentist specializing in feline care.

To proactively safeguard against oral health issues, initiate the practice of brushing your cat's teeth and gums during its kitten stage. With gradual introduction, cats tend to adapt to this routine quickly. In instances where direct brushing is not feasible, dental treats and specialized foods are available to aid in maintaining your cat's dental hygiene."

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your cat showing signs of dental health problems? Contact our Chino Hills vets today to book an examination for your feline friend.

New Patients Welcome

TLC Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Chino Hills companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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2575 Chino Hills Pkwy B Chino Hills CA 91709 US


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