Losing our baby teeth was a part of growing up. However, when people lose their teeth in adulthood, it is a sign for concern. But is it the same for animals? What about cats? If my cat loses a tooth, should I be worried?
It all depends on the age of your cat. If it is a kitten, losing teeth is normal. Like our teeth, the baby teeth fall out to make room for the adult teeth.
However, if your cat is an adult and you notice it lost a tooth, this is something you should not ignore. An adult cat losing a tooth can be a sign of dental problems that can lead to more severe health issues, such as heart disease.
In this article, we explore various implications of a cat losing teeth and ways to handle the situation. Keep reading to learn more.
Signs of Tooth Loss in a Cat
Cats are excellent at hiding any pain they may have. So, it is good to know some of the signs that indicate your cat has lost a tooth or teeth. Here are some of these signs you need to observe.
- Excessive saliva and drooling
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Weight loss and loss of appetite
- Excess tartar or plaque on the teeth
- Inflamed, bleeding, or red gums
- Receding gum line
- Cracks on the teeth
- Pus in the mouth along with the teeth or gums
- Excess pawing at its mouth
- Behavioral changes including aggression, avoidance, and hiding
You need to be worried when you find that your cat has lost a tooth since serious health concerns may be causing the issue. The causes vary from baby tooth loss to many other serious illnesses that require immediate attention.
Why Is Your Cat Losing Teeth?
1. Physical Injuries
At times, the tooth may get knocked out or broken due to physical injury. The injury may occur when the cats are fighting or even playing. The teeth break can also occur when your cat is chewing items that might be too hard for it. The injuries can cause loss of tooth or disruption referred to as luxation. In case of disruption, your vet can remove the tooth or perform surgical repair, depending on the situation.
2. Periodontal Disease
Your cat’s loss of tooth or teeth can also be caused by periodontal disease. The disease is caused by poor dental hygiene. If your cat is affected by this disease, it can cause other dental issues, such as infected gums, teeth, bad breath, and irritated gums.
The best way to ensure that your cat doesn’t get infected by periodontal disease is by brushing your cat’s teeth. Keeping your cat’s teeth clean is the perfect way to prevent gum and tooth diseases.
3. Cat Tooth Resorption
Feline odontoclastic resorptive lesion, or FORL, is also a major cause of cat teeth loss. A cat affected by the condition has lesions on the gums that look like holes or cavities in your cat’s tooth along the gum line. It can cause your cat a lot of pain and require professional vet treatment immediately.
Tooth loss results if you fail to attend to the condition immediately. The best treatment for this problem involves removing all the affected teeth.
Once your cat is affected by FORL, chances are high they will develop this condition with its other teeth. So, you need to perform regular oral and dental checkups and observe good dental hygiene on your pet.
4. Old Age
When a cat is seven years or older, they are considered senior cats. At this stage, the aging process takes a toll on your cat, and it starts experiencing weakened gums. Thus, the gum cannot hold the teeth in place. This issue becomes more common when the cat is ten years or older.
5. Unhealthy Diet
The diet you feed your cat can affect their dental and oral health. Thus, you should feed your cat food containing specific nutrients needed to strengthen teeth. If you note that your cat is losing teeth, the cause may be a poor diet. Lack of a balanced diet can make your cat gums and teeth decay.
Besides, a diet containing a large amount of wet soft food can cause dental disease since it promotes gingivitis and tartar growth. You can avoid dental problems by feeding your cat foods rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus.
How Does A Toothless Cat Cope?
If your cat has lost a tooth or teeth, things might change since the pet might not eat correctly. However, you still find the cat eating normally even with the lost teeth. Your cat teeth are pointed and are mainly used for shearing and grabbing instead of grinding or chewing. The tongue is fully covered with papilla that helps propel food, including the prey, to the back of its oral cavity before swallowing.
When teeth suffer from dental disease, the cat rarely uses the affected teeth. Even with a lost tooth or teeth, the cat usually moves the food into the oral cavity without chewing it.
Foods to Give a Cat with a Lost Tooth or Teeth
You should give your cat canned food if it loses a tooth. However, you might find your cat trying to continue eating kibble despite having no tooth. In this case, your cat uses the tongue to shovel for digestion.
You can mix kibble with canned food for a chunkier consistency that makes it perfect for your cat to digest. Note that the texture and shape preferences vary from one cat to the other. So, you need to consider what your cat prefers in the process.
Immediately after your cat loses the tooth or teeth, it might be disinterested in food. You can offer it some treats such as catnip or tuna to make it interested in eating again. Another good option is to mix your cat’s dry food with gravy or water to soften it. If it is still a problem, you can also mix wet food with dry food or give it the wet cat food.
Consider getting special food that focuses on dental care. Usually, these foods require a prescription, so speak to your vet about if this food could help your cat.
How to Prevent Your Cat Losing Teeth
Keep the Teeth Clean
Cats develop tartar on their teeth, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Bacteria accumulation on your cat’s teeth can enter the bloodstream leading to other diseases. You need to schedule regular cat teeth cleaning with your vet if you can’t do it yourself.
Regular Vet Visits
You should also schedule regular vet visits for your cat inspection. This helps identify any health issue with your pet in the early stages before escalating to major issues. The vet will check your cat’s weight and teeth and then administer the necessary vaccine.
From the article, it is evident that if your cat loses a tooth, you need to be worried because this can indicate major problems with the cat. Without a tooth or teeth, your cat might not be able to eat well.
Tooth loss can also be uncomfortable for your cat. You don’t want to see your cat in such a situation. More so, have it checked regularly by a cat veterinary.
Featured Image Credit: Burdun Iliya, Shutterstock
- Signs of Tooth Loss in a Cat
- Why Is Your Cat Losing Teeth?
- How Does A Toothless Cat Cope?
- Foods to Give a Cat with a Lost Tooth or Teeth
- How to Prevent Your Cat Losing Teeth