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Signs to look for that your Cat has tartar

signs to look for that your Cat has tartar (1)

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Are you a cat owner concerned about your feline friend’s dental health? Tartar buildup is a common issue that can lead to oral health problems in cats. Recognizing the signs of tartar in your cat’s mouth is essential for early intervention and prevention of further dental complications. In this article, we will explore the signs to look for that indicate your cat has tartar, and provide valuable insights on how to maintain your cat’s oral hygiene.

Introduction: Importance of Dental Health in Cats

Maintaining good dental health in cats is vital for their overall well-being. Just like humans, cats can develop dental issues such as tartar, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. Tartar, specifically, is a calcified plaque that forms on the teeth due to the accumulation of bacteria and food debris. If left untreated, tartar buildup can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss. Therefore, being aware of the signs of tartar in your cat is crucial for prompt intervention.

What is Tartar?

Tartar, also known as dental calculus, is a hard, yellowish-brown substance that adheres to the teeth. It forms when plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, minerals, and saliva, is not adequately removed. Over time, plaque mineralizes and hardens into tartar, which cannot be eliminated by regular brushing alone. Tartar provides a rough surface for bacteria to thrive, leading to further dental problems.

Causes of Tartar in Cats

Several factors contribute to the development of tartar in cats. These include:

  1. Poor Oral Hygiene: Insufficient or lack of dental care, such as regular brushing, increases the risk of tartar buildup.
  2. Age: Older cats are more prone to tartar formation due to decreased saliva production and weakened immune systems.
  3. Diet: Feeding your cat a diet consisting mainly of soft or canned food can contribute to tartar formation. Harder kibble promotes chewing and helps prevent plaque accumulation.
  4. Breed Predisposition: Some cat breeds, such as Siamese and Abyssinian, are more genetically susceptible to dental issues, including tartar.
  5. Genetics: Certain cats may have a genetic predisposition to developing dental problems, including tartar.

Signs and Symptoms of Tartar in Cats

Recognizing the signs of tartar in your cat’s mouth can help you take appropriate action and prevent further complications. The following are common signs and symptoms to look out for:

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Foul-smelling breath is often one of the first indicators of tartar buildup in cats. The bacteria in the mouth produce unpleasant odors, resulting in persistent bad breath.

Yellow or Brown Stains on Teeth

Tartar appears as yellow or brown deposits on the teeth, particularly near the gum line. These stains are hard and cannot be removed through regular brushing.

Difficulty Eating or Dropping Food

When tartar accumulates, it can cause discomfort and pain while chewing. If you notice your cat struggling to eat, dropping food, or favoring one side of the mouth, it could be a sign of tartar.

Swollen or Bleeding Gums

Tartar irritates the gums and can lead to inflammation and bleeding. If your cat’s gums appear red, swollen, or bleed easily, it may indicate the presence of tartar.

Excessive Drooling

Excessive drooling or drooling accompanied by pawing at the mouth can be a result of tartar-related discomfort. Pay attention to any changes in your cat’s drooling habits.

Prevention and Treatment of Tartar in Cats

While it may not be possible to completely eliminate tartar, certain measures can significantly reduce its formation and progression. Here are some prevention and treatment options for tartar in cats:

Regular Brushing

Brushing your cat’s teeth regularly with a cat-specific toothbrush and toothpaste is the most effective way to prevent tartar buildup. Start slowly and gradually introduce your cat to the brushing routine.

Dental Diets and Treats

Feeding your cat dental-specific diets and treats formulated to promote oral health can help reduce tartar accumulation. These products often have a texture that aids in mechanically removing plaque.

Professional Dental Cleanings

Regular professional dental cleanings performed by a veterinarian are essential for maintaining your cat’s oral hygiene. These cleanings involve removing tartar and plaque buildup under anesthesia.

Water Additives and Oral Rinses

Water additives and oral rinses designed for cats can help reduce the bacteria in the mouth and inhibit tartar formation. Consult your veterinarian for suitable products and their proper usage.

Toys and Dental Chews

Interactive toys and dental chews can assist in maintaining your cat’s dental health. These toys often have textures or features that aid in cleaning the teeth and massaging the gums.

Home Care Tips for Cat’s Dental Health

Apart from the aforementioned prevention and treatment methods, you can implement the following home care tips to ensure your cat’s dental health:

Introduction of Dental Care Routine

Gradually introduce your cat to a dental care routine from a young age. This includes regular brushing, handling the mouth area, and inspecting the teeth and gums.

Brushing Techniques

Learn proper brushing techniques from your veterinarian and ensure you use cat-specific toothbrushes and toothpaste. Brush gently in circular motions, focusing on the gum line and all tooth surfaces.

Proper Diet and Nutrition

Provide your cat with a balanced diet that includes dry kibble to promote chewing and reduce plaque buildup. Avoid feeding only soft or canned food, as they are more likely to stick to the teeth.

Importance of Regular Veterinary Check-ups

Schedule regular veterinary check-ups to assess your cat’s dental health. Your veterinarian canidentify early signs of tartar and provide appropriate advice or treatment if necessary.


Maintaining good dental health is essential for your cat’s overall well-being. Recognizing the signs of tartar in your cat’s mouth is crucial for timely intervention and prevention of further dental complications. By implementing proper dental care routines, regular veterinary check-ups, and utilizing preventive measures, you can help ensure that your cat enjoys healthy teeth and gums throughout its life.

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- Mahatma Gandhi

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”