Black and white cat showing her teeth

Why do cat teeth fall out? 3 Reasons for tooth loss in cats

As humans, we lose our baby teeth when we are young, and then keep our adult teeth (provided we look after them !) But what about cats, do their teeth fall out? And is it normal, or might there be something serious going on?

Why do cats lose their teeth?

Cat teeth may fall out for the following reasons: Kittens will naturally lose their baby teeth as they grow, but adults can also lose their teeth due to physical trauma or as a consequence of poor dental hygiene, which can result in severe complications such as periodontal disease.

1. Kittens lose their baby teeth

Kittens lose their baby teeth after about 6 months, and from the gap will emerge a new, shiny adult tooth. If you’ve played with your kitten at all, this will probably come as a blessing because tiny kitten teeth can feel like small needles during playtime!

The full set of adult teeth that come through after 6 months will need to last your cat the rest of its life, so it is important to make sure the teeth and gums stay as healthy as possible. Take a look at the tips further down in this article.

2. Dental disease

Plaque naturally accumulates on the surface of teeth. If it is not frequently removed, it will promote bacterial growth and eventually cause infection and gum disease (gingivitis). When gingivitis is left untreated, the gums start to recede. This leaves the root of the tooth exposed and painful. Learn more about periodontitis here. While this process can is slow and can remain undetected for years, once enough time has passed the teeth will eventually become unstable and start to fall out of their sockets.

3. The tooth has become damaged

Kittens naturally lose their baby teeth as they grow up, but when an adult cat’s teeth start falling out, it is time to visit your vet

Teeth can also fall out because they are damaged. This can either be through an external trauma like a run-in with a motor vehicle or a fall from a height, but it could also be due to disruption of the tooth socket from a nearby tumor, abscess, or another process.

Sometimes teeth become fractured or broken due to trauma, but don’t fall out. If this is the case, you still need to see your veterinarian because a broken tooth may have an exposed pulp cavity, leading to pain and infection.

How do I stop my cat from losing their teeth?

If you want to make sure that your feline friend keeps hold of their pearly whites for as long as possible, there are a few steps you can take to prevent tooth loss.

  1. First, feeding a dry, biscuit-type, cat food can create friction on the teeth, which helps to remove some bacteria and reduce plaque formation. You may also consider buying a diet designed for oral health. These diets contain ingredients that actively combat bacterial growth.
  2. Second, if you have a particularly cooperative and tolerant kitty, you could try brushing the teeth regularly, with pet-safe products of course! We can highly recommend this fish-flavored cat toothpaste.
  3. For the third step, you may look into adding a dental water additive to your cat’s water cup in order to combat bacterial growth. Combining this with the previous steps will result in a very solid defense against plaque.

What to do when my cat has no (or few) teeth

Surprisingly, cats with very few teeth (or even none at all) are often still able to eat dry kibble by spooning it in, especially if that’s the diet they are used to! This is because cats don’t use their teeth to chew on food as much as we do. Instead, their pointy teeth and rough tongue are mostly used to tear food and propel it to the back of the mouth.

However, if your toothless wonder is struggling to eat their normal food, we recommend adding water to it or mashing it up in a blender. You can also simply switch over to wet food.

Cats that lost most of their teeth will still be able to eat food

But the single most important thing to do when your cat companion has few teeth left is to maintain those remaining teeth as best you can. This means regular brushing with a pet brush, and perhaps switching over to a ‘dental diet’ if your cat wants to eat it.

So, do I need to worry if my cat’s teeth fall out?

If your adult cat had one or multiple teeth fall out, you should take them to the veterinarian. Your specialist will have a good look at the remaining teeth, prescribe any necessary treatment, and give you advice on how to keep the remaining teeth healthy. Remember: dental diseases can be really painful, and even if your purr-fect pal isn’t showing signs of pain, they could still be sore. So start brushing and see a veterinarian for a checkup!

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