Your feline can have dental issues, just like you. If problems become severe, Oscar may need a tooth pulled. Unfortunately, cats can't regrow teeth, so what's gone is gone for good. Feeding him the right food and taking care of his teeth at home helps minimize his chances losing teeth.
When Teeth Grow
Kitties grow two sets of teeth throughout their lifetime. Their "milk teeth," which are like baby teeth, come in around four weeks after birth and are fully grown by six weeks of age. These 26 temporary teeth only last for a few months, reports the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. The second set, comprising 30 adult teeth, should be grown in by the time Oscar is six months old and are irreplaceable.
Periodontal disease, gingivitis and other dental issues wreak havoc in your feline's mouth. When plaque builds up along Oscar's gum line, his teeth become dark yellow and his gums may appear bright red. As these conditions progress, he may bleed from the mouth, drool excessively or have extremely foul breath. Teeth can become loose, cracked or break off completely. He'll most likely lose his appetite and won't want to eat, since chewing causes pain. At this point, sadly, it might be time for Oscar to have some oral surgery.
Losing at least one tooth is quite common among the feline population. Only about 10 percent of all cats actually retain all of their teeth throughout their lifespan, explains Dr. Daniel Carmichael, a veterinarian and dental specialist based in New York. Even though Oscar's teeth won't grow back, he probably won't miss them. After all, his infected teeth were causing pain and agony. He doesn't know his teeth are gone, all he knows is that he feels better and it no longer hurts to eat.
Keep Oscar's chompers healthy and clean by making his oral care part of your daily routine. Take five minutes out of your morning ritual and take a look at his gums and teeth. Brushing his teeth is one of the best ways to prevent plaque and tartar buildup. Cats have very sensitive tooth enamel so you'll need to use a brush and toothpaste specifically designed for kitties. Even your softest bristle brush is probably too harsh for Oscar's sensitive teeth and gums. Additionally, if you only feed him wet food, switch to dry kibble. This type of food helps scrape excess gunk off his pearly whites. Some varieties are specifically designed to promote oral health. Check with your vet to see which brand is best for Oscar.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.