HOW TO BRUSH
- First, have your cat get used to you putting things in her mouth. Dip your finger in tuna water, chicken broth, or other liquid your cat may like. Call your cat with a voice that means "treat" and let your cat lick the liquid off your finger. Then rub your soaked finger gently over your cat's gums and teeth. After a few sessions, your cat should actually look forward to this and you can move on.
- Now, place a gauze around your finger. (You can again dip it in the tuna water or other liquid.) Gently rub the teeth in a circular motion with your gauzed finger. Repeat this for the number of sessions it takes your cat to feel comfortable with this procedure. Remember to praise her and keep an upbeat attitude.
- After your cat is used to having the flavored gauze in her mouth, you are ready to start with a toothbrush, dental sponge, or pad. We need to get your cat used to the consistency of these items, especially the bristles on a brush. So, let your cat lick something tasty off the brush or pad so she gets used to the texture.
- Once your cat is used to the cleaning item you are going to use, we can add the toothpaste. Cat toothpastes either have a poultry, malt, or other flavor so your cat will like the taste. Get your cat used to the flavor and consistency of the toothpaste. Let your cat lick some off your finger and then apply some to your cat's gum line with your finger. Praise your cat!
- Now your cat is used to the toothbrush and toothpaste and you are ready to start brushing. Talk to your cat in a happy voice during the process and praise your cat at the end. At first, you may just want to brush one or both upper canine teeth (the large ones in the front of the mouth). These are the easiest teeth for you to get at and will give you some easier practice. As before, when your cat accepts having a several teeth brushed, slowly increase the number of teeth you are brushing. Again, by making it appear to be a game, you both will have fun doing it.
Preventative care with DH:
Purina Feline DH (Dental Health) is proven to significantly reduce build-up the tartar and plaque. The patented kibble texture allows optimal tooth penetration and exceptional palatability. Purina DH feline has added antioxidants and a natural source of glucosamine. This diet is the perfect nutrition and size for everyday feeding (adults ONLY). Administer daily. This is a prescription food and can only be purchased thru your veterinarian.
OraZn®?s neutral pH (clean and natural) and taste free delivery are home dental care compliance builders. Having no requirement to brush, this product is ideal for increasing your cats acceptance. It helps control gingivitis, plaque and halitosis.
With cats use a pea sized droplet from you finger tip, Q-Tip or the applicator tip. Simply rub this amount of gel onto the gum areas above the outside back upper molars on each side of the mouth. A gentle bathing action will distribute the neutralized zinc gel to remote areas of the mouth. Daily application is preferred and the product is easy to apply.
Vet solutions Fish flavored Enzadent Chews for cats; contain a triple enzyme system which occurs naturally in your cat's saliva. It will boost the cat's natural defenses against plaque. It removes plaque, food debris as well as freshens breath. Administer daily. You can obtain these treats here at the Fox Valley Cat Clinic.
Normal Feline Teeth
Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions (FORLs)
Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions occur in 72% of cats over 5 years of age, according to the American Veterinary Dental Forum. If your cat shows signs of hypersalivation, oral bleeding, or has difficulty chewing, the symptoms may be a result of a FORL. On the other hand, most cats don't show any sign of pain or discomfort.
FORLs (cat cavities) occur when odontoclast cells found in the defects cause the tooth to dissolve. The exact cause of FORLs is unknown but plaque appears to be a major factor. Although FORLs can appear on any tooth, they are most commonly found on the lower premolars.
There are several stages to FORL development:
A defect in the enamel is visible. Since the lesion hasn't penetrated the dentin, the tooth sensitivity is low. Treatment at this stage involves a dental cleaning including a thorough cleaning, polishing and smoothing of the tooth defect.
At this stage, the lesion enters the enamel and dentin with increasing sensitivity.
In stage 3, the lesion has entered the pulp chamber and requires x-rays to determine the status of the tooth. At this point, it is extremely painful as well as easy access for bacteria to enter and form an abscess. This could further lead to infection of vital organs of the body.
The crown of the tooth has been damaged or erroded away. Gum tissue grows over the remainder leaving a painful bloody lesion. Extraction of fragments is necessary if the lesion appears inflammed or painful.
It is important to check for FORLs monthly using a q-tip and placing it where the tooth meets the gums. If pain or bleeding occur, visit your veterinarian for further examination.
Gingivitis is inflammation of the gum tissue resulting in redness and swelling, most commonly caused by dental plaque. Plague results when bacteria normally found in the mouth mix with proteins and starches found in saliva to produce a gritty material that adheres to the teeth. Plaque eventually turns into tartar, which accumulates on the teeth, especially at the gum line. Gingivitis can lead to periodontitis or inflammation around the tooth root, which in turn can lead to tooth loss.
The next time you give your favorite four-legged friend a kiss, take time to smell the roses. But, if your cat's breath smells more fowl than floral, something needs to be done. But what? How can you take care of the problem, and more importantly, what can you do to prevent the progression of gum disease in your cat?
Cats" teeth and gums are similar to our own. Food material, bacteria, and saliva accumulate and adhere to the tooth surface, forming plaque. We brush our teeth daily to remove the plaque because if daily accumulation is not removed, harmful bacteria can build under the gum line destroying the bone that surrounds our teeth.
There are four classifications of periodontal disease. Grades one and two are referred to as gingivitis. Here, the gums are red and swollen. You may also notice a disagreeable odor from your cat's mouth. Gingivitis is curable if treated early, with thorough teeth cleaning and polishing by a veterinarian. If not treated, periodontal disease occurs. In grade three periodontal disease, part of the tooth's supporting bone will be lost. Just as with people, during this stage, deep cleaning and periodontal surgery may be needed to save the tooth. Once grade four periodontal disease occurs, the tooth loosens due to complete destruction of the supporting bone.
In most cases, treatment of grade four disease involves extraction of teeth, to decrease the pain of eating with wobbly teeth. Dental pain is as rear in cats as in humans, even though they may not tell you so.
What should be the first step if your cat's breath doesn't smell like roses? Have a veterinarian examine the mouth and make recommendations. Treatment often requires anesthesia, which may concern you. With current preoperative blood testing, improved anesthetics, and patient monitoring, we take every step to make anesthesia a safe experience. We may also take dental radiographs to fully evaluate the teeth, roots, and supporting bone. Then, either the affected teeth will be cleaned, extracted, or surgery will be performed to save the teeth.
Once the immediate problem has been cared for, it's time to prevent further disease progression. Daily brushing and special diets for dental health is the way to do this. Prevention of periodontal disease will do more to lengthen your cat's life and make it an enjoyable one then most anything else--so take a good whiff and get moving--your cat will love you for it!!!
Cats can be affected by inflammation of the entire mouth, called stomatitis or lymphocytic plasmacytic syndrome (LPGS). An immune related cause is suspected, due to the large amount of plasma cells encountered on microscopic examination of the inflamed tissues. Many cats affected by LPS will be unable to eat, develop weight loss, and have excessive salivation. Oral examination often reveals a "cobble stone" - like redness in the throat area and severe inflammation where the tooth and gums meet. The premolar and molar areas are usually affected more than the canines and incisors. Intraoral radiographs often reveal moderate to severe periodontal disease. In addition to generalized inflammation, all stages of feline ondontocastic resorptive lesions may be present.
In the past, therapy options for feline stomatitis included thorough teeth cleaning and polishing, fluoride, corticosteroids, gold therapy, antibiotics, lasers, and strict daily brushing. In more cases, cats were only temporarily helped with these therapies.
Newer treatment options included general cleaning, polishing, application of fluoride, and extraction of those teeth affected by FORLs or severe periodontal disease. Additionally, A CO2 laser is used to treat inflamed tissues and decrease pain. In addition, a home care program is begun. The client is instructed how to brush their cat's teeth daily, followed by irrigation with .2% chlorhexidine. If the initial treatment does not succeed within two months, then all remaining teeth are removed behind the canines. Although somewhat radical, in most cases this will provide long-term success.