Top 3 Signs your Cat May Need Dental Attention

by Dr. Destinee Dummer

Is the smell of your cat’s breath stopping you from cuddling and making you want to clear the room when they start to groom themselves? If you answered yes, it’s pretty obvious that your cat is in need of a dental cleaning. Other than bad breath, here are the top 3 signs your pet may need dental attention:

  1. Change in eating behavior – no longer eating dry food or taking longer to eat, eating on one side of the mouth, or more crumbs noticed around the food dish can all be signs of dental disease
  2. Drooling – this is generally seen with advanced dental disease or when other things are going on in the mouth, such as inflammation or oral masses
  3. Facial swelling – if there is a swelling that is soft or firm anywhere along your cat’s jawline or around the nose or under the eyes, this might be a sign of dental disease. Infections around the root of your cat’s teeth can create an area of localized swelling called a tooth root abscess. Swellings might also indicate changes to the bones caused by oral diseases.

Your adult cat has 30 teeth and it is important to have them examined annually and keep them healthy. When your vet examines your cat’s mouth, they are looking for tartar and plaque buildup, inflammation, lesions and masses. Just like people, when a tooth becomes damaged due to lesions or fractures, the blood supply and nerves are exposed. This means infections can travel into your cat’s body and affect organs such the heart and kidneys. There is also quite a bit of pain involved. Studies have shown that improving oral health can significantly lengthen the life span of your pet. So if you see any of the signs mentioned above, be sure to let your veterinarian know!