VCA Animal Hospitals
Published: Feb 10, 2012

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It may not seem of the utmost importance that your cat's teeth be pearly and white, but it is important that they are healthy and strong. Many owners assume their cat will take care of its teeth the same way it takes care of the cleanliness of its coat, but many felines need help from humans to avoid dental disease.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, the most common cause of dental disease in cats is tartar and calculus accumulation on the teeth. Thousands of bacteria live on the surface of the teeth that forms a layer of plaque. While some is removed by the cat's tongue, food or other movement in its mouth, the rest can build up over time and cause a cat illness called periodontal (gum) disease.  Over time, periodontal disease often results in painful or lost teeth.

In order to keep your cat's teeth clean and healthy, daily tooth brushing is recommended.  According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a veterinarian may be able to recommend a certain type of pet food that can also help, but daily tooth brushing together with routine veterinary dental checkups and cleanings are critical for a healthy mouth and to avoid periodontal disease.

Tooth brushing is best started when a cat is young and will easily adapt to the feeling.  Special cat-sized tooth brushes and pastes are available for ease of brushing.  If your cat will absolutely not allow brushing—there are dental wipes or other approved products that can help keep mouth bacteria at bay.  

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