The next time you go in for a smooch with your feline bestie, whilst you’re up close and pawsonal have a good look at their teeth and gums. If their gums aren’t looking the same colour as their favourite salmon cat food and they’re looking rather red and inflamed, they may have gingivitis. Hoomans can get gingivitis if they’re not brushing and flossing enough, but what causes gingivitis in cats? Today we’ll explore the symptoms of gingivitis in cats and lay out the steps you can take to help your cat get their oral hygiene back on track.
What is Gingivitis in Cats?
After eating, a sticky, clear mixture of saliva, food and bacteria called plaque naturally forms around your cat’s teeth and along the gum line. This is normal and with good a diet and oral hygiene practices such as regular brushing, plaque can be kept at healthy levels. However, when plaque isn’t removed and it starts to build up excessively, it provides a perfect breeding ground for oral bacteria. As time goes on, this plaque hardens into tartar and can even start growing underneath the gum line. Plaque and bacteria irritate the gums (or gingiva in science language) which can then lead to gum inflammation or gingivitis in cats.
What Are the Symptoms of Gingivitis in Cats?
Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease and is reversible. If left untreated though, gingivitis can lead to gum loss, tooth resorption and an incurable oral disease called stomatitis Therefore it’s impawtent to know the signs and symptoms of gingivitis so that you can pick it up early and stop it from progressing.
The symptoms of gingivitis in cats include:
- Gum redness and inflammation: your cat’s gums should be a salmon-pink colour. If they are red or appear swollen then they may have gingivitis.
- Visible tartar on the teeth: tartar looks like those limescale rocks that form in the bottom of the kettle. Tartar can’t be removed by brushing, so if you notice any tartar around your floof’s teeth, schedule them in for a dental check-up with your vet.
- Signs of oral pain: cats are tough little soldiers and are very good at hiding pain. However, if you notice that they are refusing their food, eating slowly, or pawing at their mouths, these may be signs of oral pain which is a symptom of gingivitis.
What Causes Gingivitis in Cats?
Age and Breed
Although gingivitis in cats can present at any age, it is most common in older cats as plaque and tatar gradually build up over time. Unfortunately, some cat breeds are more likely to develop dental diseases including Persians, Siamese, Maine coons, and Burmese cats. Therefore it’s even more impawtent to check your cat’s teeth if they fall under any of these breeds.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Now you don’t need to be flossing your floof’s teeth, or having them rinse with mouthwash after their meals, but you should be brushing their teeth every day. Brushing is the best way to get rid of nasty plaque and prevent dental disease and gingivitis in cats. It’s also a great way to have a regular peek at your kitty’s teeth and gums to make sure everything’s in tip-top shape.
If daily brushing seems like a stretch, aim for at least twice per week to maintain the health of your cat’s gums and pearly whites. When brushing our cat Stella’s teeth we love rewarding her for being so well-behaved with a cat dental treat. They’re delicious, so they keep her coming back for more each night, and they also contain active ingredients, clinically proven to reduce plaque build-up by 80%. Talk about guilt-free treating!
Added sugars should never form any part of a cat’s diet. Cats are obligate carnivores and their bodies are adapted to eating diets high in meat. Cats poorly digest sugar and it has no nutritional value for them. Sugar also increases plaque build-up on teeth which can lead to gingivitis in cats. Therefore ensure that your cat’s meals are made from all-natural ingredients, high in meat and void of any added sugars to keep them at optimal health and prevent dental disease.
Crooked Teeth and Other Health Conditions
If your cat’s teeth are crooked, food is much more likely to accumulate in the gaps and edges. This can lead to excessive plaque and tatar build-up, thus inflaming the gums. Some feline health conditions including cat flu, feline leukaemia virus, and feline immunodeficiency virus have also been linked to gingivitis. Therefore if your cat has any of these pre-existing conditions, it’s even more impawtent to check their teeth and gums regularly for signs of dental disease and gingivitis so that you can treat these conditions in their early stages.
Gingivitis in Cats: What’s the Solution?
The best thing about gingivitis in cats is that it’s reversible. The first thing to do if you notice any signs that your kitty might have gingivitis is to book a dental checkup with your vet. From there they will recommend a treatment plan which may include a short course of anti-inflammatory and antibiotic medication to help treat pain or any infection that they may have. If there is a build-up of tartar around your cat’s gums they can also perform a scale and clean just like if we were to go to the dreaded dentist ourselves.
From there it’s all up to you to maintain your cat’s oral hygiene, which means feeding them a natural high-quality cat food that’s high in meat and low in sugar (hint Scrumbles), and of course, brushing their teeth!
Why Choose Scrumbles Cat Dental Treats?
We know that brushing your cat’s teeth can be a bit of a struggle, particularly if you’ve only just started this later in their floofy lives. With their constant wriggling around, escape attempts, and maybe even a few nips to your fingertips in between, we know how difficult it can be to coax them into their nightly brushing routine.
That’s why we created our Gnashers Cat Dental Treats!
They’re the best way to treat your cat after they’ve allowed you to brush their gnashers, therefore positively reinforcing their tolerance of this nightly ritual.
They also contain the active ingredient SHMP which has been clinically proven to reduce plaque by 80%.
We bake them to a crunch which also helps to powerfully rub away plaque through mechanical abrasions, therefore making them the perfect post-dinner or post-brushing snack.
With 40% chicken and with no added sugar, salt or artificial additives, our Gnashers are bound to keep your cat coming back to their toothbrush each night!
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