December 2008 Issue

Feline Dental Disease

Veterinarians now recommend check-ups for your cat twice a year to avoid painful disorders of the mouth and gums.

It may surprise you to learn that dental disease is the most common disease in cats. In fact, approximately 50 percent of all cats show signs of gum and teeth problems by the time they reach adulthood. What is dental disease and what can you do to prevent it from happening to your cat? Periodontal disease which includes gingivitis and periodontitis is a serious condition that, when left untreated, can lead to tooth loss and may even cause damage to vital organs because bacteria from the mouth can circulate through the bloodstream. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums that is caused when plaque bacteria accumulate on the tooth surface and in small pockets at the gumline called the gingival sulcus. According to Daniel Carmichael, DVM, a veterinary dentist at the Veterinary Medical Center in Islip, New York, "The gum tissue or gingiva senses the bacterial plaque, which causes the capillaries to dilate and bring in white blood cells, thus making the gums red, swollen and prone to bleeding."

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