Dental health is often overlooked in cats.  Since they are so clean themselves, you would never expect their teeth to be dirty.  However, feline dental problems are one of the largest causes of health problems in cats so owners must be aware of problems that can occur.  Here is a list and description of some common dental problems that occur in cats. 

1)    Feline Periodontal Disease. 

This happens when a buildup of plaque forms tarter, pushing food debris and bacteria under the gum line, infecting the gum and bone structure that support the teeth.  The most common symptoms include: inflamed gums, swelling/bleeding gums or bad breath.  There are several ways to treat periodontal disease including antibotics, dental cleaning, and extraction.

2)    Feline Stomatitis. 

This condition is thought to be an autoimmune disease, so the body becomes allergic to plaque around the teeth.  It is often found in cats with other autoimmune problems.  If your cat has this, you may notice an inflammation of the mouth which may extend into the throat.  The cat will appear to be in pain—he may not eat or may constantly paw at is mouth.  Feline stomatitis is a serious condition and should be taken care of by a veterinarian.

3)    Feline Odonotoclastic Oral Resoprtion Lesions (FORL). 
Cats with this condition have painful lesions that start as shallow pits that occur in the enamel of a tooth.  The tissue surrounding the tooth becomes inflamed because of plaque accumulation.  Most of the time, a veterinarian will need to remove the infected tooth to prevent further problems.

4)    Malocclusion. 
This may be the result of abnormal tooth alignment.  It can cause difficulty in eating along with weight loss.  The problem can be fixed by a veterinarian who specializes in feline dental health and orthodontics. 

Remember that you should take your cat in for an examination when you first notice symptoms of dental problems.  Pain is usually the last sign that shows up, so don’t let it progress that far.  In order to detect dental issues, you should brush your cat’s teeth and examine them regularly, feed them a nutritious and well-balanced diet, as well as take them in for regular veterinarian examinations.  By taking the right steps, you may never have to deal with unfortunate feline dental problems!  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask the veterinarian. 

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