If you're like most people who share their lives with a feline friend, you undoubtedly want your cat to enjoy good health during its lifetime. Naturally, your pet is vaccinated against contagious illnesses, and you make sure it consumes a diet that promotes optimal feline health. However, like many cat owners, you may not be aware that cats can suffer from dental issues.
The three most common dental problems experienced by cats are gingivitis, periodontal disease, and tooth resorption. Gingivitis and periodontal disease are the same types of gum disease that affect humans, and tooth resorption is a condition in which the body literally absorbs the tissues that make up the tooth. All three of these conditions can be painful for cats, making it important to monitor your cat for signs that it may be experiencing dental distress of some type.
Your cat isn't able to tell you when it's in pain, but the following signs mean that it's highly possible that the animal is experiencing pain or discomfort due to dental issues.
Reluctance to Eat
Cats that show a reluctance to consume their food may be experiencing painful dental conditions. These won't necessarily stop a cat from eating altogether — after all, your pet needs nourishment to survive. However, cats in dental pain often handle their food gingerly and take a far longer time to finish a meal than their pain-free counterparts, so it's important to note any changes in the amount of time it takes your cat to eat.
Another sign that your furry friend has dental issues is if its breath smells noticeably sour or otherwise unpleasant. This indicates that your pet may be experiencing tooth decay as the result of bacterial accumulation in the mouth. Left untreated, bacterial buildup can develop into a severe inflammation that may require surgical intervention.
Some cats just drool a little naturally, but if you notice that your cat suddenly starts drooling more, this could mean a tooth or gum issue. Drool is excess saliva that is produced as the result of irritation -- the body is trying to wash the cause of the problem away. The reason why you should be on the lookout for drool is that it's a good possible indicator of an emerging dental issue that hasn't yet become serious — and this gives you the opportunity to get your pet treated while the problem is still relatively minor. Having your cat's teeth professionally cleaned on a regular basis will help prevent your feline friend from experiencing these or other dental health issues.
To learn more, contact a cat dentist.