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Bad breath, loss of appetite, or isolation: toothaches in cats and tomcats have many faces. Since the animals suffer from problems in the mouth area, it is important that you interpret the signs correctly. Read here what symptoms can occur and what is behind them.

How do you recognize dental problems in cats?

Dental Problems in Cats: Symptoms and Diseases 7

If your cat has problems with its teeth, you can tell by the following symptoms:

  • Strong bad breath
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Isolation
  • Increased salivation
  • Frequent swallowing
  • Shaggy fur
  • Bloody saliva
  • Reddened gums
  • Solid coverings
  • Tooth discoloration

Causes of Dental Problems in Cats

Dental Problems in Cats: Symptoms and Diseases 8

Diseases of the teeth have various causes. It is important to know, however, that domestic cats tend to move more freely than outdoor cats. A predominant supply of wet food does not contribute to dental health either. On the contrary: this behavior increases the risk of plaque in cats. Animals that drink too little are also often affected by dental problems. The reason for this is that their saliva is richer in minerals – a drinking fountain can help here. As a rule, however, it starts with food residues that settle in the spaces between the teeth.

Such food residues and bacteria create plaque on the teeth. If this becomes hard, it is called tartar, which in the worst case can lead to periodontal disease. How to identify the different stages of dental problems can be found in the following table.

These dental diseases in cats do exist:


  • deposits of bacteria and saliva components;
  • hardens to tartar on the diseased tooth.


  • Hard, brownish and rough deposits;
  • Bad breath;
  • Inflammation of the gums.

Inflammation of the gums (Gingivitis)

  • Swelling;
  • Redness;
  • Bleeding;
  • Worsens to periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease

  • Formation of gingival pockets;
  • Receding gums;
  • Exposing the roots of the affected teeth;
  • Infections and tooth loss.

Tip: The gums in cats are affected by almost all oral diseases. Therefore, you should not neglect this in the care.

FORL in cats

The worst dental disease in cats is called FORL (feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions). The course of the disease is particularly painful and causes holes in the teeth. As the symptoms often only become apparent at a very late stage, you should have your cat checked for them regularly. On average, every second cat over the age of five is affected.

Natural dental care and regular checkups

Dental Problems in Cats: Symptoms and Diseases 9

Natural, regular care is and remains advisable for good dental hygiene. A mix of different products can have negative consequences. If the remedies are too aggressive, this also leads to inflamed gums. Regular tooth brushing and examination of the cat’s permanent teeth, but also the milk teeth in younger animals, are extremely important. Regular check-ups with the doctor prevent the various dental diseases or recognize them early enough. A vet can also remove the calculus if necessary.