The mouth of the cat is very small, but has a very wide opening. An adult cat has 30 teeth, which replace the 24 “milk” teeth.
Of the 30 teeth, essential both for hunting and for feeding, there are 4 canines, well sharpened, long and sharp, tilted inwards to prevent the escape of the prey; 12 incisors, useful for the care of the coat and for cleaning the bones of the prey; 8 premolars and 6 molars, suitable for shredding food. They are the teeth of a real predator! In fact, apart from the reduced dimensions, they are, in all, equal to those of big felines, such as the tiger or lion.
Teeth are very important to your cat, so you should pay special attention to cleaning them. Having healthy teeth reduces the possibility of unpleasant infections of the oral cavity.
Caries are very rare in cats because, as good carnivores, they rarely eat foods rich in sugar.
While cats’ teeth can be spared from caries, they are not spared from the formation of tartar. Domestic cats are more affected by this yellowish-white layer, which mainly covers the teeth of the upper arch, than wild cats, which can keep them clean thanks to a diet of small prey.
It is precisely the feeding of the domestic cats, based on humid and soft foods, which is the main cause of the formation of tartar, which must be removed in order to avoid that the cat’s teeth are affected by annoying inflammations of the oral cavity, such as the gingivitis or the stomatitis.
To prevent these unpleasant inflammations of the mouth, special attention must be paid to the oral hygiene of the cat. Very patient owners are advised to brush their pet’s teeth with a soft toothbrush and animal toothpaste: this does not necessarily mean that the operation will be successful, because the cat hates this kind of attention!
In case of failure, it is advisable to consult a vet, who will decide whether or not to subject the cat to scaling, a cleaning of the teeth that includes the removal of tartar, under general anaesthesia.
Some cats, in fact, do not need this type of intervention (every animal has a greater or lesser predisposition to tartar), so you can help them to keep their teeth healthy, replacing moist food with dry food. In particular, on the market there are crunchy products or suitable to prevent the formation of tartar on the teeth of the animal.
In any case, it is advisable to carry out scaling at least once a year. Regular cleaning of the teeth from tartar, is a guarantee of hygiene and fresh breath!