Dental problems can cause a lot of pain for your cat and lead to other health problems. Today, our White Settlement veterinary team explains how to recognize dental health issues in your cat, the most common dental diseases in cats, and how to prevent or treat these issues.

Your Cat's Oral Health

Your cat's oral health is critical to its overall health and well-being. Your cat eats and vocalizes using its mouth, teeth, and gums, so when its oral structures become diseased or damaged and cease to function properly, your cat experiences pain, limiting its ability to eat and communicate normally. 

Furthermore, the bacteria and infections that cause many oral health problems in cats will not stay in your cat's mouth. If left untreated, the infection and bacteria from your cat's mouth may spread throughout their body, causing damage to organs like their kidneys, liver, and heart, as well as having a more serious impact on their overall health and longevity.

Cat Dental Disease Symptoms

Specific symptoms will differ between conditions. However, if you notice any of the following behaviors or symptoms, there is a chance that your cat is showing symptoms of a tooth problem.

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

Bring your cat to your White Settlement veterinarian as soon as possible if you notice any of the above signs of dental disease. The sooner your cat's dental disease is identified and treated, the better off he or she will be in the long run.

How common are dental problems in cats?

Dental problems are quite common in cats, with studies showing that up to 70% of cats over the age of three have some form of dental disease. Common issues include tartar buildup, gingivitis, and tooth resorption. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings can help prevent these problems from progressing.

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

This disease is caused by bacteria in plaque, which is a soft film of bacteria and food debris that forms on teeth throughout the day. If your cat's plaque is not regularly brushed or cleaned, it will harden and form tartar below the gum line.

When bacteria become trapped beneath your cat's gum line and against their teeth, it irritates and erodes the structures that support their teeth. Periodontal disease, if left untreated, 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 excruciatingly painful inflammation and ulceration (the opening of sores) of your cat's gums, cheeks, and tongue.

Stomatitis is more common in Persian and Himalayan cats, but it can affect any cat.

Cats suffering from this condition are frequently in severe pain and have reduced appetites as a result. Cats may become malnourished as a result of the pain they experience when eating. If your cat develops a mild case, at-home care may be sufficient to treat their stomatitis. But severe cases necessitate surgical intervention.

Tooth Resorption

Tooth resorption in cats describes the gradual destruction of a tooth or multiple teeth in your cat's mouth. This is a fairly common condition in cats, potentially affecting up to three-quarters of middle-aged and older cats. 

When a cat has tooth resorption, the body starts to break down the hard outer layer of the tooth, loosening it and causing pain. This destruction occurs below your cat's gum line, making it difficult to detect. This condition may be present if your cat suddenly develops a preference for soft foods or swallows their food without chewing.

How do vets treat dental problems in cats?

Vets typically treat dental problems in cats by performing a thorough dental examination, including X-rays to assess the extent of the issue. Treatment may involve professional dental cleanings, extractions of damaged teeth, and potentially antibiotics to address any infections present. In severe cases, cats may require specialized dental surgery to correct issues such as periodontal disease or tooth resorption.

Preventing Dental Issues in Cats

Routine brushing and cleaning your cat's mouth is the most effective way to help prevent the development of dental problems. Your cat's teeth and gums will have a much better chance of remaining healthy if plaque is removed before it causes damage or infection.

To help keep your kitty's teeth in tip-top condition, bring your pet in for a professional dental examination and cleaning once a year. Dental appointments at Frontier Veterinary Hospital are like taking your kitty for an appointment at the veterinary cat dentist.

To avoid developing oral health issues in the first place, start brushing your cat's teeth and gums while they are still a kitten. They should quickly adjust to the process. If your cat refuses to have its teeth cleaned, dental treats and foods are available to assist you in keeping your cat's teeth healthy.

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 White Settlement vets today to book an examination for your feline friend.