Cat breath, though normally nice can get offensive at times. In most of the cases feline bad breath is caused by lack of dental care or dental problems like gingivitis, inflamed gums or infection. Just like humans, cat’s teeth too require regular cleaning to remove food particles, bone splinters or foreign substances that get stuck in teeth or gums. Dental care is also necessary for maintaining a proper chemistry in the mouth to prevent tartar formation.
Periodontitis, a disease that affects gums and bone around the teeth is the most common cause of bad breath. It causes extreme pain, tooth loss and is likely to spread to other organs. In such cases, an incrustation forms on the teeth and gums and over time this thin film of tartar thickens and hardens attracting more tartar. Eventually the gums get inflamed and start bleeding, a condition known as gingivitis. This is the early stage of periodontitis, which can be cured and reversed. However, if your cat is not attended to even at this stage, it results in periodontitis, which may lead to tissue and bone loss. Severe periodontitis requires tooth extraction as affects the roots of the teeth as well.
Periodontitis is a preventable disease. In fact prevention is the only means of ensuring that there is no final loss of teeth and tissue. Preventive care involves regular brushing and cleaning. In most cases, you can learn to give dental care to your cat at home. Cats with peculiar mouth chemistries, however, need to be taken for periodic professional tooth cleaning.
Regular cleaning also ensures removal of food particles, a piece of bone or a strand of hair that gets stuck in nooks and crevices between teeth. This removal is necessary since these harmless looking substances can decompose and infect surrounding tissue and spread in the mouth with the passage of time.
Specific kinds of bad breath in cats also indicate kidney, liver and skin disease (mostly the tissue around the lips). It may also be caused due to an inflammation of the mucous membrane in the mouth, diabetes or oral trauma. A sweet cat breath points towards diabetes, a urine-like breath to kidney disease and foul breath is a sign of liver disease or intestinal blockage.
Cat or dog mouth fresheners help in restoring mouth chemistry to a great extent. But consistent bad breath requires proper physical and dental check up so that you can arrive at the underlying cause of the condition and progress with appropriate treatment.