What Can My Cat’s Mouth Tell Me About Her Health?

Does my cat really need preventive oral health care?

A. "Many of the most serious and most common dental problems present very few symptoms or visible signs that they’re developing. That’s why it’s so important to keep your pet’s teeth clean, and get them evaluated by a professional regularly.


Twice a year, a cat should have a professional oral exam. In addition, a cat should have her teeth professionally cleaned yearly under general anesthesia. This gives the veterinarian an opportunity to check each tooth. At the same time, cats can be screened for common problems, like gum swelling and tumors suggestive of conditions that older cats are prone to, such as squamous cell carcinoma, a potentially fatal cancer."

What should I expect from my vet when it comes to dental care?

A. "Look for a veterinarian who is comfortable with dentistry and who takes dental X-rays. These images are key, because a lot of common serious problems cannot be detected without them, yet many veterinarians do not offer them."

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