With the immediate importance of the right food and preventative medical treatment, dental care is often something that is overlooked in the early days of owning a new cat. Nevertheless, your cat’s teeth are incredibly important to her, helping her to eat and enabling her to catch and kill her prey.
Tooth pain and loss of teeth can be extremely debilitating and something that no conscientious pet owner wants their pet to suffer from. As such, addressing your cat’s dental health should absolutely be a priority.
Why is your cat’s dental health so important?
As we know, the function of your cat’s teeth is crucial, and your feline friend may feel vulnerable and frightened if her dental health is in any way compromised. However, in addition to the more obvious reasons for keeping your pet’s teeth in good condition, you might be surprised to learn that her dental hygiene also plays a significant part in her overall health and wellbeing.
Dental disease is a condition that will affect 70% of cats by the time they reach three years of age. It is the equivalent of periodontal disease in that it is characterized by the accumulation of plaque and tartar on your cat’s teeth along the gum line. The bacteria in them then progresses into the soft tissue of the gum, causing swelling, bleeding, tenderness and bad breath. Left untreated, the inflammation that is associated with dental disease has been shown to cause damage to other organs in the body including the kidneys, liver, and heart.
How can I help keep my cat’s teeth healthy?
Brushing your cat’s teeth is the best way to support her dental health. This may sound like an impossible task, but with a bit of patience and plenty of practice, most feline parents find that they can get into a routine of regular brushing. Doing so will remove any bacteria from your cat’s mouth before it has the opportunity to cause any real damage to her dental health, so ideally brush at least every other day.
Visiting your veterinarian is another important aspect of your kitty’s dental care. This is because your vet has the knowledge, training and experience to be able to accurately assess the condition of your cat’s teeth and identify any possible problems early, before they become painful and require comprehensive and potentially treatment.
There are also a range of products designed to support your feline’s dental health. One of the most common and popular product types is marketed as ‘dental treats’.
What are cat dental treats?
Cat dental treats is the term given to small biscuits that can be given to your pet, and these are sold as being great for helping to improve your feline’s dental health. The way in which these treats work is designed to be two-fold. Firstly, the abrasive biscuits are said to mimic a brushing action on your cat’s teeth, eliminating bacteria from their surfaces. Secondly, many are said to contain ingredients which promote dental health.
Do dental treats actually help keep my cat’s teeth clean?
The answer to this question is somewhat unknown. There is certainly evidence to suggest that it could be beneficial for her health, but there are no completely conclusive results. In most instances, chomping on dry, brittle food is relatively ineffective. If it were good for our teeth, our own dentists would recommend that we snack on some style of chips and pretzels between meals. However, eating does stimulate the production of saliva, your cat’s natural defense against dental bacteria.
In conclusion, it probably won’t hurt to provide your pet with dental treats, provided you check that they don’t include ingredients that are too fatty, salty or sweet. However, dental treats are absolutely no replacement for regular brushing and visiting our veterinarian for a dental check-up.