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Q: what are some of the most common reasons cats lose their teeth?

November 1, 2008 | By naneki26 k. | 8 answers | Expired: 2084 days ago

naneki26 k.

I have rescued at least 5 cats who have had to have dental work and teeth removed. Is this from past disease or not getting quality food then or what? Thanks

Readers' Answers (8)
Angie S.
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Nov 02, 2008

First..... dry food vs canned food having anything to do with dental health is nothing more than a myth. This has been proven. It's no longer a question. And there is no presciption food that helps - and certainly not anything made by Hill's/Science Diet. That food is not healthy for any cats. Unfortunately, vets and vet office staff primarily get feline nutrition information and education from the pet food manufacturers themselves and not independent research.

Specifically regarding rescued cats that had to live outdoors for any period of time.... yes, they're likely to have more dental and health problems in general depending on how long they were on the streets. This is due to many factors.... poor and inconsistent diet being one of them.

And, like people, some cats have more dental health issues than others. Also like people, this can be a genetic issue. Since it's pretty unrealistic to regularly brush a cat's teeth, they need regular dental cleanings from the vet. For some cats, regular cleanings need to start when they're still relatively young (3-5) and others don't need their first cleaning until they're 10+. Then, "regular" varies as well. Some need them annually while others only need them every few years.

Cats' instincts lead them mask pain, so you'll rarely know when or if they have a painful tooth. The best course of action is simply to have your vet visually exam your cat's teeth each year during their annual visit and determine when or if a professional cleaning is needed. Between annual visits, if your cat suddenly stops eating or reduces the quantity that they're eating, you should head for the vet. The first thing the vet is likely to check for is dental problems.

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Angie S.
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Nov 02, 2008

Quote from Lisa A. Pierson, DVM on www.catinfo.org/

Dental Disease: Long-standing claims that cats have less dental disease when they are fed dry food versus canned food are grossly overrated, inaccurate, and are not supported by recent studies. Many veterinarians are coming to the realization that this is a myth that needs to be dispelled. First, dry food is hard, but brittle, and merely shatters with little to no abrasive effect on the teeth. Second, a cat's jaws and teeth are designed for shearing and tearing meat, and cats that eat dry food grind it in a way that it ends up between their teeth. There it ferments into sugar and acid, thereby causing dental problems. Third, many cats swallow the majority of their dry food whole and thus receive minimal benefit from chewing motion. There are many factors that contribute to dental disease in the cat such as genetics, viruses, and diet. There remain many unanswered questions concerning the impact of diet on dental health, but feeding a high carbohydrate, species-inappropriate dry kibble diet is a negative factor, not a positive one. A much more effective way to promote dental health is to feed large chunks of raw (or cooked) meat or gizzards which is what cats’ teeth are designed to chew.

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Patricia  C.
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Nov 04, 2008

I am sure that cats need to have their teeth cleaned just as dogs do. I have a friend who has a 19 year old cat. Until recently he took her to the vet twice yearly to have her teeth cleaned. They would put her under anesthesia and clean her teeth. Now they say her health is too bad and they will not do it, but they did that for years. They say maintaining a cat's teeth makes them live longer and be healthier and considering the age of this cat I would have to agree.

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