Cat’s teeth are designed to stab, slice and tear at raw, tough and ‘chewy’ food rather than chew it, and these actions help keep the teeth in good condition. Kittens shed their baby milk teeth as their permanent ones come through at around six months. When kittens are born, the teeth are just visible inside the gums, and soon erupt. At six weeks old, a kitten’s teeth are strong and needle-sharp so, for obvious reasons, a mother cat will become reluctant to feed her babies, and a natural weaning process takes place, with the youngsters, ideally, having strips of raw meat to chew on.
The skull and teeth consist of:-
-Tympanic bulla middle ear
It may be necessary in such cases for a vet to remove the problem milk teeth so that they do not interfere with secondary tooth growth and action, which could ultimately lead to digestive and other health problems.
Cat breath should not be offensive – tooth decay is easy to diagnose because of the resulting unpleasant smell. The mouth area and gums to should be pale pink in colour – white gums indicate anaemia, red bleeding gums are an indication of gingivitis and blue or grey gums suggest a circulatory problem. If your cat shows reluctance or inability to eat, seek veterinary advice, as this could be due to a mouth abscess, a broken tooth or some other more serious ailment.
If for any reason, you feel that you would like a second veterinary opinion, it is within your right to ask for one, and your vet can arrange this; no one vet knows everything there is to know about his or her particular field of work. Your vet may even suggest consulting another expert in order to treat your cat most appropriately, especially if they do not have the specialized equipment or knowledge to deal with your cat’s specific health problem.
Cleaning your Cat’s teeth
Regularly cleaning your cat’s teeth will help prevent tooth decay, gum disease such as gingivitis, and bad breath. Toothbrushes specifically designed for kittens and cats are available from pet stores or veterinary surgeries, but a soft human toothbrush with a small head will suffice. You must not use human toothpaste – cats hate the taste and the froth it creates.
You should also ensure that you take your cat to the vet for regular check-ups when his teeth will be examined. Start brushing your cat’s teeth when he is a kitten, so he gets used to the treatment. Begin by simply dipping the brush in warm water, and placing it inside your kitten’s cheek for a few seconds while gently holding his mouth closed. Reassure him with soothing words, and repeat with the other cheek.
Do this every day, gradually extending the period the brush is held in your kitten’s mouth until he is no longer concerned about it. At this stage, begin to move the brush in a small circle, starting with the back teeth, as these are less sensitive than the front teeth. In a few weeks, you should be able to brush both the front and back teeth without causing the kitten any concern. At this stage, you introduce a small amount of feline toothpaste. Rubber finger brushes may also be used instead of a toothbrush.