Why is my cat losing Teeth? A quick insight

Dental issues are very much common in cats. Generally, dental problems are observed in older cats. Usually, dental conditions are preventable and curable, if you give proper care to your cat. Cat owners ask so many questions about the overall dental health of their beloved cats.

Why my cat is losing teeth?

Which are important conditions that affect the teeth of a cat?

Here, we will discuss some very important dental issues which lead to tooth loss in feline under the light of scientific literature.

 

IMPORTANT REASONS OF TOOTH LOSS IN CATS

Various teeth conditions cause discomfort and pain in cats. These conditions also adversely affect the quality of a cat’s life. Some top conditions have been enlisted below:

 

Tooth resorption

This is the destructive condition in which a cat’s teeth start breaking down. This condition impacts all the structures of teeth (from root to crown) and damages them. The most commonly affected teeth are premolars.

This is noteworthy that the exact cause of tooth resorption is not clearly known. But this is usually associated with various inflammatory changes such as periodontitis and gum inflammation. Moreover, aging and high dietary magnesium contents are also considered contributing factors.

Key signs:

1) Cat experiences pain

2) Anorexia due to painful oral inflammation

3) Visible tooth destruction, pink defects at the tooth-gum junction & oral bleeding.

4) Clearly seen destructive spots on enamel of the crown, gum line, and sometimes on the overall tooth surface.

5) Excessive salivation (hypersalivation), head shaking, and sneezing.

 

Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention:

If you notice any of the above given degenerative signs in your cat’s teeth, report it to your vet. Your vet will conduct a thorough oral examination (observation of oral lesions, inflammatory changes on gums). Radiographic findings can also help in better diagnosis.

As far as treatment concerns, your vets will choose the treatment according to the severity of the condition. If the tooth is destroyed and causing discomfort/pain, then tooth extraction (crown & root) can also be performed. However, Crown amputation is also performed with internal root retention in some cases.

Your vet can prescribe other medications including analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and various dental formulations. Remember, prevention is better than cure, keep an eye on your cat and keep proper care of her teeth.

 

Gum problems in cats:

Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums. In this medical condition, gums become red, painful and inflamed. There are many causes of this inflammatory condition, but plaque is considered the major one. Plaque harbors various bacteria which cause the gums to become inflamed.

Other reasons may include any trauma (inflicted due to any sharp object, bones, etc), systemic infections such as feline immunodeficiency virus, feline leukemia virus, feline calicivirus, and other severe diseases including kidney dysfunctioning, diabetes mellitus, and several autoimmune diseases. However, oral sores/lesions can also lead to inflammatory changes in gums.

Key signs:

Important key signs of gingivitis in cats have been listed below:

1) Anorexia (cats show hesitation to eat because of painful gums)

2) Redness, swelling, discomfort.

3) Bleeding can also be seen in some cases.

4) Hypersalivation and bad breath (halitosis)

5) Cats become dull and stressful

 

Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention:

Talk to your vet. He/she will do a complete oral examination (based on signs and symptoms). Interestingly, gingivitis is a curable condition, if treated early. Other medications such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs can also be prescribed to stop the inflammation and other underlying conditions.

Plaque removal is an essential thing that must be done on a priority basis. Brush your cat’s teeth by using veterinary recommended toothpaste (never use human kinds of toothpaste as they are toxic for cats). It is better to train your cat to get comfortable with regular tooth brushing. Being a responsible owner, this is your duty to monitor your cat’s oral hygiene and keep an eye on your cat’s dietary habits.

 

NOTE: If gingivitis is left untreated, it may lead to periodontitis and other serious complications.

 

OTHER CONDITIONS:


Periodontitis is inflammation of teeth holding tissues. This condition arises if you ignore gingivitis. This is a serious irreversible condition that may result in permanent tooth loss. Any head trauma/dental trauma can also cause tooth loss in cats.

The other reasons include autoimmune diseases and other underlying medical conditions.

Other conditions are oral tumors; gingivostomatitis, cheek biting, salivary disorders, etc. This is recommended to give a lot of attention to a cat’s teeth. Remove plaque from time to time and go for tooth scaling and polishing as per the suggestions of your vet.

 

QUICK OVERVIEW:

Tooth loss in an adult cat can be due to one of the following reasons:

1) Gum diseases

2) Mechanical trauma/injury

3) Periodontitis

4) Old age and an unhealthy diet

5) Feline tooth resorption

 

Frequently asked questions

 Is tooth loss normal in adult cats?

No, tooth loss is not normal in adult cats. However, it is pretty normal in kittens.

How does periodontitis lead to tooth loss?

This inflammatory condition loosens the tooth by damaging the supporting tissues and everything around that anchors the tooth in the gum. This ultimately leads to permanent tooth loss.

What is age-associated tooth loss?

There is an association between a cat’s age and tooth loss. With the passage of age, teeth become weak and fall away. According to the Cornell feline health care center, 85% of cats above age 6 years experience tooth loss due to periodontal disease.

 

References

ddie DD, Radford A, Yam PS, Taylor DJ. Cessation of feline calicivirus shedding coincident with resolution of chronic gingivostomatitis in a cat. J Small Anim Pract. 2003;44:172–176

Mestrinho LA, Runhau J, Bragança M, Niza MM. Risk assessment of feline tooth resorption: A Portuguese clinical case control study. J Vet Dent 2013; 30(2):78-83

Perry, R. and Tutt, C., 2015. Periodontal disease in cats: Back to basics–with an eye on the future. Journal of feline medicine and surgery17(1), pp.45-65.

Gorrel, C., 2015. Tooth resorption in cats: pathophysiology and treatment options. Journal of feline medicine and surgery17(1), pp.37-43.

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