3 Common Misconceptions About Cat Teeth
If you’re an experienced parent of a cat, you probably know that cats can develop cavities, gum disease and even have teeth fall out if their dental health is neglected. You may also know that pet dentists recommend that you brush your cat’s teeth regularly to help prevent these problems. However, some misinformation is commonly spread on the internet and elsewhere. Here are three misconceptions about cat’s dental health.
If You Brush Their Teeth, You Don’t Have To Get Dental Checkups
You know that plaque accumulates on teeth after eating, and that plaque can become tartar, which causes gum disease and increases the risk of tooth decay. However, if you think that brushing your cat’s teeth regularly means that they won’t need dental checkups from the vet, you’re mistaken.
Cats with very little plaque or tartar buildup and no gum disease can still lose teeth. A dental disorder called tooth resorption can cause your cat’s body to start eating away at the tooth from the inside out until the pulp and root is completely destroyed. Once the root is gone, there’s no saving the tooth. Surprisingly, this disorder is fairly common and all the tooth brushing in the world won’t stop it. Seeing your vet for dental checkups regularly can catch this problem before it becomes severe and you may be able to save the tooth before it’s too late.
Feeding Your Cat Dry Food Prevents Dental Problems
For whatever reason, some people believe that feeding a cat a diet of nothing but dry food helps to keep the level of plaque down. The theory is that if dry cat kibble is scraping and scratching at your cat’s teeth while they eat, it’ll remove plaque and keep their teeth clean.
Now, as a human, imagine that someone told you that you wouldn’t have to brush your teeth ever again if all you ate was crunchy food, like nuts. It doesn’t sound believable, and it’s not true for cats, either.
Plaque builds up on teeth due to deposits of food being left behind combining with bacteria in the mouth. Dry food and wet food are both likely to leave a residue on your cat’s teeth, so plaque can still grow.
A Cat’s Teeth Should Never Fall Out
It may seem like common sense that a cat’s teeth shouldn’t ever fall out, but there’s one thing you may not have thought of: kittens! Kittens, like human babies, are actually born with temporary teeth that need to fall out to make space for permanent teeth.
Kittens will generally start teething at three weeks old, and finish teething around six weeks old. At this point, your kitten should have twenty-six teeth. Adult teeth start to move in and begin pushing primary teeth out at three months, with the process generally completing at around six months old. So if you find tiny baby teeth that have fallen out, don’t worry!
When it comes to your cat’s health, don’t make assumptions: always ask your vet for advice. They have the knowledge you need to make sure your kitty’s chompers are safe and healthy for years to come.