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Published: Jan 30, 2012

February is Pet Dental Health Month and the perfect time to bring your cat to the vet to have their teeth cleaned and inspected for signs of dental disease. This should be taken care of at least once or twice a year to ensure your feline friend has a healthy mouth.

Dental disease is one of the most common feline afflictions that results in veterinary visits. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, about two-thirds of adult cats suffer from dental problems, such as gingivitis or periodontal disease, and tartar and plaque buildup are largely responsible for these issues in sick cats.

There are a few different ways to prevent tartar buildup, and you should discuss your options with a veterinarian to determine the best course of action for your particular pet. If tartar does form around the gum line, it can irritate gums and cause gingivitis. Buildup around the gums may lead to gum recession, exposing parts of the tooth that do not have a protective enamel coating, which may be painful for your pet.

Leaving these dental problems unattended can result in further inflammation and pain, which could develop into periodontal disease. This can eventually result in loosened teeth that may fall out.

Clinical signs of dental problems may include reluctance to eat dry food, hesitation before eating, bad breath or even pawing at the mouth, VCA reports.