Cat Periodontal Disease

As seen in Petrax

Cat periodontal disease, or gum disease in cats, is an inflammation of some or all of a tooth’s deep supporting structures. It is one of the most common diseases in cats today.


If food particles and bacteria are allowed to accumulate along a cat’s gumline, it can form plaque, which, when combined with saliva and minerals, will transform into calculus (tartar). This causes gum irritation and leads to an inflammatory condition called gingivitis.


Gingivitis, which is evidenced by a reddening of the gums directly bordering the teeth, is considered to be an early stage of periodontal disease in cats.


After an extended period, the calculus eventually builds up under the gum and separates it from the teeth. Spaces will form under the teeth, fostering bacterial growth.


Once this happens, the cat has irreversible periodontal disease. This usually leads to bone loss, tissue destruction and infection in the cavities between the gum and teeth.


Symptoms and Types of Gum Disease in Cats


Periodontal disease in cats generally begins with the inflammation of one tooth, which may progress if not treated during different stages of the condition.


A cat with stage 1 periodontal disease in one or more of its teeth, for example, will exhibit gingivitis without any separation of the gum and tooth.


Stage 2 is characterized by a 25 percent attachment loss, while stage 3 involves a 25 to 30 percent attachment loss.


In stage 4 of cat periodontal disease, which is also called advanced periodontitis, there is more than a 50 percent attachment loss. In the most advanced stage of the disease, the gum tissue will usually recede and the roots of the teeth will be exposed.


Cats may also develop a cat gum disease called stomatitis (gingivostomatitis). Stomatitis is the severe inflammation of all of the gum tissue, which may affect the other tissues in the mouth.


Stomatitis occurs due to an overactive immune response to even small amounts of plaque and calculus.


Causes of Gum Disease in Cats


Cat periodontal disease can be caused by a variety of factors,  but is most commonly associated with bacterial infection. Bacteria under the gumline leads to pain and inflammation of the tissue.


There may also be a relationship between having a history of calicivirus infection and severe gingivitis.


Diagnosis of Periodontal Disease in Cats


In the exam room, your veterinarian will look inside your cat’s mouth for red, inflamed gums. That is the first indication of a problem. Your veterinarian may press gently on the gums to see if they bleed easily, which is a sign that a deep dental cleaning, or more, is needed.


Once under anesthesia, the diagnosis of cat periodontal disease involves a number of procedures. If periodontal probing reveals more than one millimeter of distance between the gingivitis-affected gum and tooth, a cat is considered to have some form of periodontal abnormality.


X-rays are extremely important in diagnosing periodontal disease in cats because up to 60 percent of the symptoms are hidden beneath the gumline.


In the disease’s early stages, X-rays will reveal loss of density and sharpness of the root socket (alveolar) margin. In more advanced stages, it will reveal loss of bone support around the root of the affected tooth.




The specific treatment for cat periodontal disease depends on how advanced the disease is. In the early stages, treatment is focused on controlling plaque and preventing attachment loss.


This is achieved through daily brushing with pet-safe toothpaste, professional cleaning and polishing, and the prescribed application of fluoride or other pet prescription products to minimize the development of plaque.


Sometimes it is necessary to remove the teeth associated with severe stomatitis.


In the more advanced stages, bone-replacement procedures, periodontal splinting and guided tissue regeneration may become necessary.


Living and Management


Follow-up treatment for periodontal disease in cats consists mostly of maintaining good cat dental care and taking your cat for weekly, quarterly or biannual checks.


The prognosis will depend on how advanced the cat gum disease is, but the best way to minimize the adverse effects caused by the disease is to get an early diagnosis, adequate treatment and proper therapy.




The best prevention for cat gum disease is to maintain your pet’s good oral hygiene and to regularly brush and clean her mouth and gums.


Cats can be trained to accept brushing when trained slowly over time and rewarded for their cooperation.


Prescription cat food dental diets are available for those cats who are unwilling to have their teeth brushed.


Cat dental treats, water additives and other products certified by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) are also shown to help reduce plaque and calculus.


Dog’s bad breath—Don’t think you can fix it by using your toothpaste!!!!

Dog’s bad breath—Don’t think you can fix it by using your toothpaste!!!!

By Dr. Karen Becker and comments by Diane Weinmann

In the U.K., the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) is warning pet parents not to use human toothpaste when they brush their dog’s teeth. The alert was issued “… after research suggested it was being seen as a solution to bad breath,” according to The Telegraph.1

The RSPCA cautioned that the presence of fluoride in many human toothpaste brands, along with the growing use of the artificial sweetener xylitol, could be toxic to dogs if ingested. It’s important to realize that unlike humans, dogs don’t spit out toothpaste, so every bit of it gets swallowed or absorbed through the tissues in the mouth.

In addition to fluoride and xylitol, most human toothpaste contains a long list of chemicals and other substances your dog (and you) may be better off avoiding. My recommendation is to use an all-natural enzymatic dental gel designed specifically for pets.

Survey Says: Lots of Dogs Have Halitosis, and Lots of Dog Parents Are Clueless

According to the Kennel Club, dental disease is the second most commonly diagnosed health issue for dogs in the U.K. In the U.S., it’s the number one medical problem — 80 percent of dogs have some degree of gum disease by the age of 3.

The RSPCA’s warning followed a survey of 2,000 pet parents that showed nearly 8 percent had tried to get rid of their dog’s bad breath with human toothpaste. Some people fed their dogs mints to freshen their breath, others offered sticks of gum and some thought a good grooming would solve the problem. There were even pet parents who vowed to keep their toilet lid down, fearing the time-honored canine tradition of drinking from the bowl was causing their dog’s stinky breath.

“While we applaud owners who take responsibility for caring for their dogs teeth, we would also stress that only toothpaste formulated for dogs should ever be used,” a Kennel Club spokeswoman told the Telegraph.

This is worth repeating. Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most effective thing you can do to keep those teeth and gums in good condition. Daily brushing is ideal, but if that’s not workable, set a goal of four to five times a week.

Bad Breath Resulting From Gum Disease Isn’t ‘Normal’ for Dogs — It’s a Serious Problem

More than half the U.K. pet parents surveyed believed bad doggy breath was normal and not a symptom of poor dental health; only a fifth worried about bad breath being a sign of a serious health problem. When plaque isn’t removed from your dog’s teeth, it collects there and around the gum line and within a few days hardens into tartar. Tartar sticks to the teeth and ultimately irritates the gums. Irritated gums become inflamed — a condition known as gingivitis.

If your dog develops gingivitis, the gums will be red rather than pink and his breath will probably be noticeably foul-smelling. If the tartar isn’t removed, it will build up under the gums, eventually causing them to pull away from the teeth. This creates small pockets in the gum tissue that become repositories for additional bacteria.

At this stage, your dog has developed an irreversible condition, periodontal disease, which causes considerable pain and can result in abscesses, infections, loose teeth and bone loss.

When periodontal disease is present, the surface of the gums is weakened. The breakdown of gum tissue allows mouth bacteria to invade the bloodstream and travel throughout your dog’s body. If his immune system doesn’t kill off the bacteria, it can reach the heart and infect it.

Studies have shown that oral bacteria, once launched into the bloodstream, are able to fight off attacks by the immune system. What many pet parents don’t realize is there’s an established link between gum disease and endocarditis, which is an inflammatory condition of the valves or inner lining of the heart.

Researchers also suspect certain strains of oral bacteria may lead to heart problems. Some types of bacteria found in the mouths of pets produce sticky proteins that can adhere to artery walls, causing them to thicken. Mouth bacteria are also known to promote the formation of blood clots that can damage the heart.

How quickly these events take place depends on a number of factors, including your pet’s age, breed, genetics, diet, overall health, and the frequency and quality of dental care he receives. It’s also important to realize that some dogs will require regular professional cleanings even when their owners are doing everything right in terms of home care.

Signs of Possible Dental Disease in Your Pet

If you notice any of the following signs in your dog, it’s time to make an appointment with your veterinarian to prevent a dental problem from negatively impacting her health and quality of life:

Redness of the gums Tenderness around the mouth and/or teeth
Bad breath Drooling or dropping food
Loose teeth Bleeding from the mouth
Discolored teeth Loss of appetite/poor appetite
Broken teeth Weight loss

5 Steps to Help Keep Your Dog’s Mouth Healthy

  1. Feed a nutritionally balanced, species-appropriate, fresh food diet, and feed it raw if possible. When your dog gnaws on raw meat, it acts as a natural toothbrush and dental floss.
  2. Offer recreational bones and/or a fully digestible, high-quality dental dog chew to help control plaque and tartar. The effect of dental chews is similar to raw bones, but safer for power chewers or dogs who have restorative dental work and can’t chew raw bones.
  3. Brush those teeth, preferably every day. If every day is too tall an order, commit to do it several times a week. A little time spent each day brushing your dog’s teeth can be tremendously beneficial in maintaining her oral health and overall well-being.
  4. Perform routine mouth inspections. Your dog should allow you to open his mouth, look inside and feel around for loose teeth or unusual lumps or bumps on the tongue, under the tongue, along the gum line and on the roof of the mouth. After you do this a few times, you’ll become aware of any changes that occur from one inspection to the next. You should also make note of any differences in the smell of your dog’s breath that aren’t diet-related.
  5. Arrange for regular oral exams performed by your veterinarian. He or she will alert you to any existing or potential problems in your dog’s mouth, and recommend professional teeth cleaning under anesthesia, if necessary.

Daily homecare and as-needed professional cleanings or nonprofessional dental scaling (NPDS) by your veterinarian or dental professional are the best way to keep your pet’s mouth healthy and disease-free. It’s important to note that while NPDS can be a great way to prevent dental disease from occurring, it’s not a good substitute in cases of moderate to severe dental disease.

Diane has had great results using a product call PlaqueOff. This product can be used by dogs and cats alike and you sprinkle the granules on your pet’s food based on their weight.  Here is how this product can help:

Helps control plaque and tartar
-Improves bad breath
-A natural seaweed supplement
-Add it to your pet’s daily food

ProDen Plaqueoff is ingested via a powder placed over your pet’s daily food. The natural compound in the product comes out through the saliva and works to break down the bacterial biofilm that forms on the teeth and gums. This is how the natural bacteria in the mouth take hold onto the teeth and gums, colonizing and creating the oral problems of plaque and tartar, bad breathe and gingivitis. It does not change the ph of the mouth or kill off the normal levels of bacteria. ProDen Plaqueoff has been proven to reduce plaque and tartar on the teeth and gums, depending on composition, diet and how long it has been there. It then works to prevent bad breath, plaque and tartar from returning.

Small Dogs & Cats < 25 lbs  /    1/2 – 1 scoop

Medium Dogs 25 – 50 lbs      /    1 – 2 scoops

Large & Giant Dogs 50 lbs + /   2 – 3 scoops


Please note *Not recommended for animals undergoing treatment for hyperthyroidism. Keep away from children and animals

Diane has used this product for over 7 years with her husky and he has fabulous teeth!  I recommend it to many of my clients with great results.  If your dog has really bad teeth I would suggest you get a professional cleaning then begin using this product on a daily basis.