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How To Tell If Your Cat Needs Dental Care

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Cat owners sometimes don't realize their pets need dental care. They may never have heard of brushing a cat's teeth. Dental care is an important part of your pet's overall care, though. Cats in the wild exercise their mouths by hunting and devouring what they've caught. Such feedings also help clean their teeth.

Housecats don't get that kind of action as they stroll over to the food bowl and devour what's inside. Indeed, your cat may be overdue for a visit to the dentist. Below are some signs that they need dental care.

Bad Breath

Your cat's breath isn't going to smell fresh, especially right after dinner. In fact, you typically smell a light fish undertone because that's a mainstay ingredient in most cat foods. Otherwise, their breath is relatively odorless. When your cat yawns or meows, though, get in their face and take a sniff. If you smell something foul, they may have digestive issues and dental disease.

Yellowed Teeth

You should examine your cat's teeth regularly — experts recommend examining them two to three times a month. One of the things you want to be on the lookout for is yellowed teeth. at's teeth should be relatively white. If the teeth are yellow, they probably have plaque. If you see darker material, it may be tartar. Both plaque and tartar can lead to gum disease.

Red Gums

Cat gums are typically pink. Some cats have a condition called lentigo which causes black spots on their gums. These spots are simply freckles, which are harmless for your cat. Red lines along the tooth line are not harmless. That is, in fact, a sign of inflammation that's almost certainly caused by gum disease. Your cat can be suffering from gingivitis or stomatitis, both of which are painful.


Cats sometimes drool when they're very relaxed, especially if they're receiving a well-deserved petting session. However, most often cat drool indicates an underlying problem. Typically, cats drool when something inside their mouth is irritating their gums. The drool is an attempt to wash it away. That irritant is typically dental disease. You'll notice drool in excess if that's the case.

Mouth Discomfort

Cats don't outright let you know they're in pain. They instinctively hide pain because in the wild they're prey as well as predator. Pain signals weakness to their predators. So, if your cat is suffering mouth pain, they won't cry. Instead, you may notice they paw at their mouth or tilt their head. A prime indicator of mouth pain is a refusal to eat their food. The pain is probably related to dental issues.

If your cat is displaying any of the above signs, bring to a cat dentist for a dental checkup.