How many teeth do cats have?
Like humans, cats are born without teeth. At just two to three weeks old their 26 deciduous teeth (baby or milk teeth) start to erupt through their gums. The deciduous teeth start to fall out when the kitten is about four months old and kittens have a full set of 30 permanent teeth by the time they are six to eight months old.
How to keep your cat's teeth clean
Just like humans, cats also need to have a daily oral care regime. It’s important to clean your cat's teeth in some way every day to remove the plaque that adheres to their teeth every day. If the plaque is not removed and is left in contact with the tooth, it will harden to form tartar within just a few days. Tartar cannot be brushed away and can lead to the start of gum problems which cause pain and discomfort. Feeding your cat a mixture of dry and wet food delivers food with a variety of tastes and textures which cats really enjoy. The additional benefit of feeding dry food is that the dry kibble creates abrasion on the surface of the teeth which can help to wipe plaque away which helps to clean their teeth.
How to brush your cat's teeth?
The very best way to clean your cat's teeth is to brush them daily. Tooth-brushing is the most effective way of removing plaque from your cat's teeth and most cats will take to it if the process is built up slowly. Cat toothbrushes and specially designed cat toothpaste is available at most pet retailers. Because oral care of cats is so important, Whiskas® have created DentaBites, a daily treat to help you care for your cat's teeth and gums. Cats are stoic animals and they have evolved to hide pain meaning gum problems are not always obvious. Having your cat's mouths checked regularly by your vet or vet nurse is a great way to keep on top of their oral health, but here are some subtle signs that cat owners can look out for at home:
Spotting the signs of gum problems in cats:
- Bad breath: it is not normal for a cat to have bad breath
- Drooling /salivating: cats should not excessively drool, this can be a sign of a problem in their mouth Redness or inflammation of the gums: Lift your cat's lip and check the gums, they should be pink, any redness or swelling where the gum meets the teeth is not normal
- Redness or inflammation of the gums: Lift your cat's lip and check the gums, they should be pink, any redness or swelling where the gum meets the teeth is not normal
- Changes in eating behaviour such as those listed below can be signs of discomfort in their mouths, you may notice that your cat is:
- Reluctant to eat
- Holding their heads to one side when eating
- Spitting food out
- Leaving dry food
- Less willing to play: sometimes cats with pain in their mouths will become less lively, they may shy away from your hand with their head preferring to be stroked on their back