Oral hygiene preserves our health and also the well-being and health of our pets. For your little feline-looking carnivore, keeping teeth and gums healthy protects it from many periodontal infections. Why should you brush your cat’s pretty incisors? When and how to offer him this essential treatment? Discover our article to effectively fight dental plaque in your feline.
Tartar: A Biofilm Harmful To Your Cat’S Teeth
The Formation Of Dental Plaque
Before developing into dental plaque, a thin orange-colored film is deposited on your cat’s teeth. It is the bacteria contained in the mouths of our small felids that produce this biofilm. By clumping together on the teeth, the bacteria produce glycoproteins and polysaccharides. In addition to an unsightly color, the biofilm, which is replenished 6 to 8 hours after each treatment, will thicken if you do not brush your cat’s teeth. The more the plaque strengthens and thickens, the more the bacteria multiply. This first plate is just a simple mineralization with a nauseating odor. When the plaque mineralizes and extends under the gumline, it is called tartar. Certain breeds like the Burmese and the Persian develop tartar more quickly. Strict hygiene of their teeth remains essential for the well-being of these cats who are more sensitive to mineralization.
Did You Know ?
1 milligram of dental plaque contains about 10 million bacteria. Analyzes have shown that the concentration of bacterial germs in tartar is as high as for stools. Enough to no longer delay brushing your tender kitty’s teeth.
The Consequences Of Tartar On The Health Of The Cat
When the animal suffers from a lack of dental hygiene, an orange plaque forms on these teeth. This mineralization of the enamel also causes bleeding, bad breath and pain which can prevent the cat from feeding properly.
These first signs are not necessarily benign, because apart from the unsightliness of his jaw, and an unsavory breath, tartar can generate for your cat:
- Gingivitis: the gums are inflamed by the accumulation of tartar which accumulates under the gums. The cat may show bleeding at mealtimes and very red gums.
- Oral infections: stomatitis, abscess or periodontitis.
- Cavities: in cats, cavities lead to progressive atrophy of the tooth. The process is most often observed near the gumline and affects a set of teeth, between their crown and their roots.
- When the bacteria are very numerous, they can migrate through the blood vessels and cause endocarditis or sepsis.
On the other hand, when the cat, which already chews little of its food, suffers from a dental problem, it abandons the chewing necessary for the proper ingestion of its food. The food arrives less degraded in the stomach, complicating and slowing down the digestion process.
When Should You Take Care Of Your Cat’S Teeth?
Some toms will never need scaling while others will need it in their first year. In order to determine if your feline is suffering from dental plaque, it is best to examine its jaw regularly. Take advantage of a quiet moment to lift his lips slightly and inspect the inside of his mouth. By lifting the upper lips, you will check for the absence of a brownish line along the base of the teeth, at the gum line. Your veterinarian will check the state of his mouth during the annual examination of your animal. The healthcare professional checks teeth, gums, cavities, lesions or inflammations. If he notices too much tartar proliferation, he will recommend descaling.
In order to accustom him to this care, it is best to accustom your kitten when he is calm and relaxed. If, however, you have never practiced the brushing of quenottes, there are many anti-tartar solutions to prevent the appearance of tartar in cats. Unlike us, you won’t have to brush your velvet paw teeth after every meal – some of which number 16 a day – but only two to three times a week. For some breeds more prone to the appearance of tartar, daily brushing remains desirable. In any case, consult your veterinarian to find out the most suitable frequency of care for your cat according to its diet and its fragility.
How To Help Your Cat Take Care Of His Jaw?
Prevention by brushing your teeth remains the best weapon to protect your cat against dental plaque and tartar. If your cat is too old for brushing or refuses, there are other options, fortunately.
Tartar Prevention Without A Toothbrush
1 – Food
To prevent tartar on the cat’s teeth, diet should not be neglected. Although our little cats almost all melt for wet food, dry food such as kibble remains more effective in protecting your feline’s canines. In addition to their mechanical action which promotes the elimination of tartar, they stimulate the gums and strengthen their jaws. Choosing a BARF food is more complicated to set up and remains interesting to protect your cat’s teeth. The household ration also brings great benefits for the oral health of the animal when the master replaces the carbohydrates with chicken, fish or meat, whatever it is. The food chosen does not, however, dispense with practicing dental hygiene for your feline.
Did You Know ?
Some kibbles are specially formulated to prevent dental plaque.
2 – Dental Sticks
Made using soft wood from Asian forests, these dental sticks are reputed to be 100% natural. You can offer him sticks of Matatabi several times a week, in the form of a treat. By chewing the stick, your cat will prevent the appearance of dental plaque and reduce its appearance. You can
3 – Chewable Toothpaste For Cats?
Enriched with fluoride, it strengthens the enamel and protects your feline from cavities. Here again, the mechanical action caused by the action of chewing protects and destroys tartar. Their aroma will appeal to your pet more than you, that’s for sure. Some contain propolis to strengthen your cat’s immune defenses. Make sure, however, that your pet is not allergic to bee products before offering this toothpaste.
4 – A Powder To Mix
The oral powder mixes with the kibbles. It limits the formation of tartar by modifying the pH and the composition of the cat’s saliva. The active ingredients in the solution pass into the blood during digestion. It is distributed once a day.
5 – A Drinkable Solution
To be added to drinking water, the solution eliminates the biofilm produced by bacteria, thus limiting the formation and appearance of tartar. It is necessary to dilute a stopper in 1 liter of water. Neutral in taste, not sure that it will encourage your cat to drink more often. Without alcohol, these drinkable solutions are made from plants with antiseptic and disinfectant properties.
Prevention By Brushing Your Teeth
Mechanical brushing remains the most effective solution to protect your adorable feline’s teeth and gums. However, you have to get him used to it from an early age and be gentle so that he lets himself go. To brush the teeth of your kitten, then of your adult cat, a suitable toothbrush or finger cots are recommended. Toothbrushes, flexible, must be adapted to the anatomy of the oral cavity of your tomcat. For toothpaste, it is best to choose a product that is suitable for your pet. If you hesitate, take advice from your veterinarian, he will suggest the brands that are suitable for you. To accustom your cat to toothbrushing, proceed in progressive stages. He will therefore be more inclined to let things go and perhaps claim this shared moment on his own.
- For several days in a row, gently lift his upper lip as if inspecting his jaw.
- As soon as he accepts this manipulation without flinching, dip your finger in canned tuna juice and gently rub his gums and one or two teeth. Repeat 2 to 3 days in a row. If he accepts, go to the next step.
- This time, provide your finger with a sterile gauze and gently rub his teeth in a circular motion. Apply this step several days in a row until he lets himself be done without flinching.
- Proceed to actual brushing with a toothbrush or finger cot and toothpaste.
During all these steps, never force your cat. If he is reluctant, try again the next day. Finally, even if your cat is old, you can get him used to this care by proceeding with the same gentleness and in gradual steps. To make this experience as pleasant as possible for him, reassure him and congratulate him all the time during the cleaning. Reward him with a suitable treat that is good for his teeth after brushing if he is greedy. If he prefers caresses, offer him a tender moment.
Despite your best efforts and care, prevention may not be enough. Descaling can then become essential for your cat and it is not a matter of routine intervention for him.
When Descaling Becomes Essential
When the dental plaque is too extensive, the veterinarian will recommend scaling. However, it is not a benign act, because the intervention is done under general anesthesia. Your animal will be sedated in order to control the pain associated with the operation, to ensure that the animal does not move during the intervention, to protect its airways from the particles of tartar which will be removed.
During the intervention, the constants of your animal are obviously monitored in order to stop the anesthesia if the little patient reacts badly. During the operation performed using an ultrasonic or sonic scaler, the veterinarian cures and scales the base of the cat’s teeth. He takes advantage of the anesthesia to check the animal’s teeth and gums in depth and polishes the enamel of his teeth. If during the scaling, the veterinarian finds that the teeth are too damaged, he will pull them out, which will increase the bill accordingly.
The biofilm begins to reconstitute itself very quickly after scaling. As for us, the cat therefore needs regular oral hygiene to protect its teeth, gums and health.