Happy Silly Cat

Caring for Your Cat’s Teeth: Why Dental Care is Essential

Bad breath in cats can be a sign of underlying health issues that merit attention from pet owners. This condition is commonly misunderstood, particularly since cats normally have a peculiar mouth odor that is not necessarily associated with bad breath.

As a result, several cat owners can be unaware that their feline pets have bad breath. Nevertheless, if you notice bad breath from your cat, it is important to act promptly to identify and remedy the root cause of the problem.

In this article, we will discuss the main causes of bad breath in cats, as well as their possible treatments and preventive measures.

Causes of Cat Bad Breath

Gum Disease

Periodontal disease, plaque, tartar, gingivitis, and tooth decay are among the common gum diseases that can cause bad breath in cats. Like humans, cats require regular oral hygiene care.

Failure to do so can result in bacteria accumulating in the cat’s mouth, leading to gum disease. The build-up of bacteria in the gaps between teeth and gums can cause an unusual and unpleasant odor.

Plaque and tartar build-up also leads to bad breath, resulting from bacteria thriving on food waste and dead bugs. If left untreated, gingivitis can develop, and this inflamed gum condition can cause bad breath as a result of bacterial growth in the inflamed tissue.

Oral Conditions

Feline calicivirus, kidney failure, cancerous tumors, stomatitis, broken teeth, and foreign objects can all cause bad breath in cats. Feline calicivirus is a highly infectious disease that causes flu-like symptoms and mouth ulcers in cats; it can result in bad breath.

Kidney failure, a common problem in senior cats, leads to urinary issues and can cause bad breath that smells of ammonia. Stomatitis is an autoimmune condition that can affect cats, causing inflamed gums and ulcers that contribute to bad breath.

Cancerous tumors, broken teeth, and foreign objects lodged in the mouth can also be responsible for unpleasant breath.

Non-Mouth-Related Conditions and Disorders

Vomiting, diarrhea, low energy, excessive thirst, excessive urination, and diabetes can all contribute to bad breath in cats. Cats will not brush their teeth nor rinse their mouth with water after vomiting or feeding, and thus, food particles remain in their mouth and start to decay.

This results in a repugnant smell if it stays for too long. Furthermore, diabetes affects cats at an alarming rate, and if left untreated, it can lead to ketoacidosis, an illness that leads to the production of a fruity odor in a cat’s breath.

Treatment for Cat Bad Breath

Visiting the Veterinarian

To determine the root cause and extent of bad breath for a cat, several tests must be conducted. The first step involves a physical exam by a veterinarian, which entails examining the cat’s teeth and gums for signs of dental disease.

To assess the severity of the dental problem, it may be necessary to administer anesthetic dental cleaning. Bloodwork and X-rays of the cat’s mouth may also need to be taken to determine whether there is an underlying non-mouth-related condition or disease that is causing the problem.

Once the root cause of bad breath is identified, appropriate treatment can be administered to help alleviate the symptoms.

Home Remedies

There are several home remedies that a pet owner can use to combat bad breath in cats. Regular toothbrushing, dental wipes/sprays, and water additives, paired with dental treats, can help eliminate mouth odor by reducing the accumulation of plaque and tartar on the cat’s teeth.

Prescription diets that promote dental hygiene and overall health can also be recommended by a veterinarian. Additionally, there is specific enzymatic toothpaste designed explicitly for cats that can clean their teeth and freshen their breath.


The ideal way to prevent bad breath in cats is to make daily dental care a part of their regular routine. Pet owners can begin by brushing their cat’s teeth and giving them healthy dental treats that ensure their teeth remain healthy and remove any plaque build-up.

Cats should have yearly dental cleanings, and pet owners should remain alert to any changes in their cat’s eating or drinking habits, such as excessive thirst or urination, as these can be an early sign of an underlying problem.


Cat bad breath can cause discomfort, not only for the pet but also for the owner. It is imperative, therefore, to identify and remedy the problem to alleviate unpleasant odors and obtain peace of mind.

As covered in this article, causes of bad breath in cats include gum disease, oral conditions, and non-mouth-related conditions and disorders. Appropriate treatment options, such as visiting the veterinarian, home remedies, and prevention, are available for pet owners who want to address the issue.

Identifying and treating the root causes of cat bad breath can lead to a happy and healthy cat, with fresh breath. Dental care is a crucial aspect of maintaining a cat’s overall health.

The state of a cat’s oral health directly impacts their quality of life and can be an indication of an underlying illness. Poor oral health can also affect several body systems, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver, leading to infections and diseases.

In this article, we will discuss why dental care for cats is essential, some of the most common dental problems in cats, and preventative measures pet owners can adopt to maintain their cat’s dental health.

Dental Health and Overall Health

The importance of dental health extends beyond the cat’s mouth. Poor dental hygiene can result in a wide range of health problems, particularly in older cats.

If left untreated, dental problems can affect the cat’s heart, as the bacteria in their mouth create a risk of developing endocarditis. Oral hygienic issues like periodontal disease can spread to the lungs, resulting in bronchitis and pneumonia.

Poor dental health can also cause kidney problems that eventually lead to renal failure. Additionally, bad oral hygiene can affect the liver as, over time, liver function may decrease due to the excess bacteria absorbed into the blood through the cat’s digestive system.

Therefore, by maintaining their cat’s dental health, pet owners can prevent these issues and ensure the longevity of their feline friend.

Common Dental Problems in Cats

Plaque and Tartar Buildup:

Plaque is the combination of food debris and bacteria which form a film on the teeth. Over time, if left untreated, plaque hardens into tartar, which can lead to inflammation of the gums, gingivitis and ultimately periodontal disease.

Tooth Decay:

Tooth decay in cats is often caused by the acid created by the bacteria that break down sugars in the cat’s mouth. This decay can lead to abscesses, causing pain and infection, leading to potential tooth loss.


Gingivitis is an inflammation condition of the gums that is caused by plaque and tartar buildup, and can eventually progress into more serious conditions like periodontal disease. Signs of gingivitis include redness, swelling, and bleeding gums.

Periodontal Disease:

Periodontal disease is one of the biggest dental issues that affect cats. It occurs when there is gum inflammation, and the tissues that support the teeth break down.

As a result, the cat’s teeth become loose, which can lead to tooth loss. Broken Teeth:

Cats can sometimes crack or break their teeth, particularly if they chew hard objects or due to an accidental injury.

Broken teeth can be painful for your cat, and often require veterinary intervention to prevent further damage. Stomatitis:

Stomatitis occurs when there is an autoimmune response in the cat’s mouth, causing inflammation of the gums and other mouth tissues.

This condition can be very painful for cats, leading to them completely avoiding food and water. Cancerous Tumors:

Cats can develop tumors/ cysts in their mouths, which can grow and cause discomfort.

These tumors can be removed surgically, but if left untreated can spread to other areas of the body. Foreign Objects:

Cats are predisposed to chewing on small objects such as strings, and other easily ingested items which can cause blockages in their intestines.

These can cause issues such as bad breath, digestive problems, and the inability to eat.

Preventing Dental Problems in Cats

Daily Dental Care:

Daily dental care is crucial to maintaining cats’ dental health, including cleaning their teeth and gums. This can be done using enzymatic toothpaste designed for cats, dental wipes, or a water additive in conjunction with healthy dental treats.

By cleaning their cat’s teeth daily, pet owners can prevent plaque and tartar build-up, eliminating the need for more costly and invasive treatments in the future. Brushing Teeth:

Brushing your cat’s teeth with a special cat toothbrush is another effective way to keep their teeth clean.

Pet owners should get their cat used to having their teeth brushed from an early age. This can be achieved by starting with small brushes, or fingers, and slowly progressing to a regular brush.

Dental Treats:

Dental treats are a delicious way to keep cat’s teeth clean. These treats are shaped such that when cats chew them, they help scrape off plaque and tartar build-up.

Yearly Dental Cleanings:

Yearly dental cleanings with a veterinarian are important to ensure the cat’s teeth and overall health are in good condition. During the cleaning, the vet will screen the cat’s blood work, examine the mouth and teeth for problems, and remove any plaque or tartar build-up.

This will help prevent any dental conditions from progressing, reducing the need for more invasive procedures in the future.


Dental care is not only essential for maintaining good oral hygiene in cats but for preserving their overall health. In this article, we’ve discussed common dental problems in cats, how they can affect their overall health, and the importance of preventative measures, including daily dental care, brushing teeth, dental treats and yearly dental cleanings.

By being proactive, pet owners can ensure that their cat’s teeth and gums remain healthy and prevent further dental diseases from occurring as they age. A simple daily routine can help prevent potentially painful and costly dental issues, inevitably leading to an overall happier and healthier feline friend.

In summary, dental care for cats is essential to maintain their overall health and longevity. Poor oral hygiene can lead to several health problems, including heart, lung, kidney, and liver issues.

Common dental problems in cats include plaque and tartar buildup, tooth decay, gingivitis, periodontal disease, broken teeth, stomatitis, cancerous tumors, and foreign objects. Preventative measures for dental health include daily dental care, brushing teeth, dental treats, and yearly dental cleanings.

Pet owners can ensure their cat’s dental health with a simple daily routine, leading to happier and healthier feline friends.

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