Other health problems

The Most Common Oral Diseases in Cats

Mariana Castanheira
By Mariana Castanheira, Licensed vet. Updated: August 6, 2018
The Most Common Oral Diseases in Cats

See files for Cats

Most of the time cats use their mouth to explore the world. They use it not only for eating, but also to catch their prey, nibble on things that they are curious about or they want to play with, among other activities. For the same reason, they are prone to various ailments in their teeth.

All these diseases cause a lot of pain in felines, so they must be treated immediately. It is best to detect them early to avoid complications, so AnimalWised presents this guide to the most common oral diseases in cats.

You may also be interested in: Most Common Diseases in Rabbits


  1. Periodontal disease
  2. Neck injury
  3. Carcinoma
  4. Dental resorption
  5. Crown loss
  6. Traumatisms
  7. Eosinophilic granuloma
  8. Prevention

Periodontal disease

This term is used to cover diseases involving the affection of periodontal tissues. They are usually caused by the appearance and extension of plaque, which becomes tartar and begins to infect different areas, which can affect the gum, tooth and even the root itself.

It is estimated that approximately 70% of cats suffer from some type of periodontal disease after the age of 5. Now, it usually affects them in the stages of tartar, gingivitis and periodontitis, so we explain a little more about them below.

1. Plaque

This is the first stage of periodontal disease. Every animal's mouth is full of different types of bacteria, and the cat's mouth is no exception. However, when these bacteria are mixed with food scraps and external microorganisms, little by little dental plaque forms.

If it is not kept at bay with a proper hygiene routine, this plaque begins a sedimentation process until it becomes the annoying tartar. This is the culprit for the dental diseases described below. We have several options to get rid of tartar, such as brushing or using dental toys and snacks.

2. Gingivitis

It is the second stage of periodontal disease is gingivitis. It affects the gums, and is reversible if detected early. It is usually caused by the proliferation of plaque transformed into tartar, or by lesions in the oral cavity that accumulate bacteria and trigger an infection.

It is manifested as redness of the gums, bleeding when there are wounds, rubbing of the jaws with their legs, pain and inflammation, so your cat will show discomfort when ingesting their food. If not treated early, gingivitis can affect other areas of the mouth and digestive system, leading not only to periodontitis, but also to stomatitis.

The treatment of gingivitis that is applied includes not only brushing using veterinary toothpaste, but also applying antibiotics and healing drugs, in order to attack bacteria and heal possible injuries. Cats in a state of weakness due to blood loss may also require some vitamins, but only a specialist's check-up can determine this.

3. Periodontitis

Periodontitis is when the infection has spread to the tissues that support the tooth, affecting not only the gum but also the bone. At this point, the disease is irreversible.

Symptoms include bad breath, excessive salivation, fever, bleeding, eating discomfort, irritability, and eventual anorexia if untreated. The danger of the disease is not only that, at this stage, part of the treatment includes the removal of infected teeth, but also that the pus from the infection itself will be swallowed by the cat when they eat, transporting these bacteria through the body, where they are capable of affecting the liver, heart and kidneys.

The diagnosis is made by studying the oral cavity in depth, performing x-rays and blood and urine tests to detect the presence of viruses. Treatment includes medication to control pain and fight bacteria, removal of affected teeth and care of the area for better healing. All this in the hands of a specialist.

The Most Common Oral Diseases in Cats - Periodontal disease

Neck injury

This is another of the most common oral diseases in cats, and occurs when the body itself begins to absorb portions of enamel and dentin into an exposed root. The origin or cause of this phenomenon is still under study. The feline will experience pain and the appearance of the teeth will begin to look strange.

Its identification can be done through the naked eye, as it is characterized by the presence of red spots in the area, although for a better diagnosis it is recommended to take an x-ray. The treatment is intended to relieve the discomfort they cause in the cat,which is why pain-killers are prescribed. The veterinarian will indicate which is the best measure to avoid the progression of the disease, according to the severeness of each case, which can even reach to the point of the extraction of the affected parts.


It is a type of cancer that affects the oral mucous membranes. Its appearance is in the form of ulcers and scaly tissue masses, usually affecting felines of 9 years of age and older. It is quite painful, so the cat will refuse to eat and will often place their paws across the mouth.

If your cat has carcinoma, or if you suspect it, you should see your vet immediately. A biopsy and other studies will confirm the theory, and according to the state of the feline and the level of cancer progression will be continued to the most appropriate treatment.

Dental resorption

It is an oral disease of unknown origin, mainly affecting those cats who have reached old age. The tissue that covers the tooth gradually deteriorates until the piece is broken. It is a long and painful process, characterized by your cat's refusal to eat and frequent drooling.

The specialist will recommend pain relievers, and depending on the progression of the disease it will be treatable with surgery to remove damaged parts, or different antibiotics.

The Most Common Oral Diseases in Cats - Dental resorption

Crown loss

Approximately half of adult cats will suffer from this problem at least once in their lifetime. This is the fall or separation of the dental crown from the root, due to an undercutting of the crown. The causes are multiple, but can usually occur when a piece is dropped or torn off improperly, either during a fight, biting something very rigid, among other reasons.

Periodontal disease is also a major cause of this loss of the crown, as the infection itself weakens all tissues, making them more vulnerable.


Although these are not diseases per se, most of the most common oral diseases in cats are traumatisms. These have different causes, from a blow they received, the result of a fight with another feline or animal, an object that has been caught between the teeth and even the breakage of one by biting something too hard.

Symptoms of these problems will vary, but are usually characterized by rejection of food, drooling, irritable attitude, bleeding, pain, among others.

Eosinophilic granuloma

Another of the most common oral diseases in cats is Eosinophilic granuloma, which is a condition that is also known commonly as rodent ulcer. It is characterized by a loss of hair in the mouth area. This is a skin disease that is a cutaneous reaction of another underlying infection such as an allergy or an ectoparasitic infection. The symptoms presented in cats are a red or salmon colored rash with bumps on the skin, ulcers in the upper lip, swelling of mouth ulcers and occasionally dermatitis.

If your cat has Eosinophilic granuloma, it's highly important to take your cat to the vet so he/she can determine the cause behind this condition and treat your cat properly.


When it comes to oral diseases in cats, it is best to advocate for prevention rather than cure. These kinds of conditions generate a lot of pain and discomfort in your cat, do not risk losing your teeth.

Follow these tips to avoid health problems:

  • Choose a dry diet. Wet foods tend to stick more easily between teeth and gums, causing infections. In addition, there are high fiber feeds that function as a mechanical brushing, pulling out the accumulated plaque and getting rid of any residue.
  • Fresh water. Water is essential for your cat's health, especially to avoid dehydration and the many problems it can cause. Always provide fresh, clean water 24 hours a day.
  • Weekly brushing. Brushing a cat's teeth is not an easy task, so we recommend getting used to this routine from an early age. Use a veterinary toothbrush and toothpaste for this process.
  • Toys. In the market there are different bite toys that will get rid of anything that may be embedded in the teeth of your feline, choose the one that best suits you.
  • Vitamins. Consult your veterinarian about giving your cat some vitamins that allow her to strengthen bones, and therefore teeth, such as calcium and collagen.
  • Annual check-up. Once a year, see your trusted vet for a check-up of your cat's entire teeth and oral cavity so you can spot any problems early.
The Most Common Oral Diseases in Cats - Prevention

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to The Most Common Oral Diseases in Cats, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

Write a comment
Add an image
Click to attach a photo related to your comment
What did you think of this article?
1 comment
Ruth Dean
Can sore ears in my cat cause him to have rapid breathing?
1 of 4
The Most Common Oral Diseases in Cats