If you're a responsible cat parent, you probably know that cats can develop tooth decay just like humans do. However, whether or not your cat is regularly having its teeth brushed and cleaned by a professional, your cat still needs regular dental exams. Here are three surprising things that can happen to or due to your cat's oral health, even if they regularly get their teeth brushed.
Tooth resorption is a type of dental disorder that can affect cats of any age or breed, regardless of oral hygiene. Unlike tooth decay, tooth resorption starts on the inside of the tooth.
In essence, tooth resorption is the same mechanism that allows baby teeth to fall out. The roots and nerves of the teeth are gradually reabsorbed back into the body, followed by the pulp and the remainder of the tooth. Unfortunately, if this disorder occurs with adult teeth, your cat will experience a great deal of pain. To make matters worse, tooth resorption can usually only be diagnosed with x-rays, so it's important that your cat have a thorough dental exam on a regular basis.
Your cat's oral health can have a serious affect on the rest of its body. If your cat develops gum disease or tooth decay, the bacteria involved can potentially spread to the rest of the body, causing organ damage. This includes the kidneys, and considering that 1 in 3 cats will develop kidney disease, gum disease should never be allowed to become advanced.
Another problem cats can develop is something called feline stomatitis. This is a disorder in which cats develop sores and inflammation in their gums and surrounding mouth tissues. While the causes can vary, one of the reasons cats can develop this disease is due to an autoimmune reaction wherein the body attacks healthy, living cells. Some veterinarians believe that this is an overreaction to bacteria in the mouth, but science isn't entirely sure just yet.
In some instances, a simple dental cleaning will be enough to stop this disorder, but in extreme circumstances, removing teeth may be necessary. In any case, finding it early on can prevent your cat from experiencing a great deal of pain and potentially losing weight.
Even if you take the best possible care of your cat's oral health, you should consider seeing a veterinarian regularly for in-depth dental examinations. Doing so could save your cat from a lifetime of illness, pain, and tooth loss.