All about cats

What age do cats start losing teeth

Most cats start losing their baby teeth at six months or so, but this doesn't necessarily mean they're old: some cats may take as long as a year to lose all their baby teeth.

A cat's adult teeth grow in throughout their lives, and they will have 32 teeth in total. The first adult teeth are usually the upper front teeth. The upper back teeth usually appear between the ages of three and four, but the lower back teeth usually appear between the ages of five and six.

As cats age, their adult teeth may start to push out the baby teeth. This is perfectly normal, but can occasionally lead to problems with the jaws such as misaligned teeth and periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is a breakdown of the support structure of the teeth, which can cause gums to recede and teeth to become loose.

What causes a cat to lose its teeth?

There are a few different causes of tooth loss in cats, which range from a simple discomforting toothache to a more serious condition.

Some cats are born with teeth that are misaligned (known as malocclusion), in which case they may need to be extracted.

Sometimes a cat's teeth may be damaged by a traumatic event such as a blow to the head or by chewing on something that's too hard.

If a cat is nursing, it may lose a few baby teeth, which will then grow in at the front of the mouth. The first teeth that appear are called milk teeth. You can tell your cat's age by the number of milk teeth it has.

How are cats' teeth cleaned?

Cats usually have a bad breath – over time the bacteria in their mouths can build up at the back of the mouth, which leads to bad breath (halitosis). It can also increase the likelihood of gum disease.

If your cat's teeth are badly damaged, you may notice it has bad breath, or feel it licking or chewing at its mouth. Sometimes cats will display this behaviour when they feel a tooth is coming loose.

If you notice your cat's teeth are getting more of a yellow, green or brown colour, or are loose and sharp, you should take them to the vet.

How can I prevent my cat from losing its teeth?

If you want your cat to continue to have a healthy mouth and gums, you should make sure it keeps its teeth clean, but don't apply any sort of toothpaste to your cat's teeth.

If you have an older cat, and you're worried about its teeth, consider taking it to the vet so it can be examined, and possibly have its teeth checked. If the cat needs a tooth extracted, it may be best to have an operation performed.

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