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Tooth Trouble In Cats: Don't Ignore These Signs

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Even the most conscientious cat owners may miss the signs that their kitty's teeth are in trouble. Some cat owners don't realize there's a problem until they notice a "snaggletooth" in their kitty: a loose tooth that sticks out at a strange angle. It's not always easy to know when a cat is in pain. They've evolved to conceal signs of discomfort as a survival mechanism because, in the wild, an obviously sick cat would appear vulnerable to predators. So, how can you tell if your cat is having dental issues? 

  • Problems with eating. The cat may avoid chewing dry food, let the food fall out of its mouth while eating, or vomit unchewed food, which you may think is a sign of your cat simply being a glutton and eating too fast without taking the time to chew when in fact your kitty is avoiding chewing due to tooth pain.
  • Bad breath. If your cat has unusually bad breath, that could be a sign that something is wrong, since dental disease, tooth reabsorption, infection, and even oral cancer can cause unusually bad breath in cats. 
  • Drooling. Excessive saliva or drooling is another sign of tooth pain. 
  • A sensitive face. If your cat has stopped grooming itself or pulls away if you pet by it's mouth, your cat may be avoiding these usually enjoyable situations simply because its mouth hurts.

Take your cat to the vet for a thorough examination. Two-thirds of a cat's teeth are underneath the gums and can't be seen without the use of pet radiology.  A veterinary radiologist can take dental x-rays of the cat's mouth to pinpoint the source of the problem. 

Assuming that the loose tooth was not caused by an injury, a number of issues can be behind tooth loss, including periodontal disease. Half of all domestic cats are afflicted with a condition called odontoclastic resorptive lesions. Lesions develop behind the enamel layer of the cat's teeth, causing the teeth to decay and become very loose as they rot. The teeth may need to be pulled and the rest of the teeth cleaned so that the kitty can be free of pain and continue to eat normally. 

Consider changing your cat's diet to one that will reduce the amount of tartar buildup, which your veterinarian can advise you on. There are also toys and treats that help to maintain a cat's oral health. A professional teeth cleaning by a vet once or twice a year will also contribute to keeping your cat's teeth in the best possible condition. For more information, contact a professional in your area or visit a website like http://www.loop494vet.com.