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Gingivitis in Cats: Signs, Causes & Treatment

Gingivitis in Cats: Signs, Causes & Treatment

Dental problems in cats can be excruciatingly painful. Gingivitis is the initial stage of periodontal disease, and it affects up to 85 percent of cats over the age of three. This stage is reversible with proper care, and our Waxhaw vets will assist you in getting there.

What is Gingivitis in Cats?

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gingiva or gum around the teeth. Gingivitis can range from mild to severe, and in severe cases, cats with gingivitis may have difficulty eating, be extremely uncomfortable, and require anesthesia for a tooth cleaning. Plaque is the buildup of food, debris, germs, dead skin cells, and mucus on teeth that can lead to gingivitis.

Signs of Gingivitis in Cats

Some of the most common signs of gingivitis in cats include:

  • Red or swollen gums, especially around the area of the inner cheek
  • Bad breath
  • Plaque build-up on the surface of the teeth
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty eating or not eating at all

Causes of Gingivitis in Cats

Some of the most common causes of gingivitis in cats include:

  • Old age
  • Crowded teeth
  • Soft Food
  • Bad Dental Care
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus)

How to Treat Gingivitis in Cats

Gingivitis treatment focuses on eliminating accumulated plaque and dental calculus, as well as treating or extracting destabilized and/or diseased teeth. To address any inflammatory dental disease, routine tooth cleanings and dental x-rays should be conducted under anesthetic.

For cats suffering from stomatitis to have a comfortable mouth, their teeth are frequently extracted by a veterinarian if it is called for.

The extent of periodontal disease in your cat will determine the frequency of dental checkups. Your veterinarian may recommend tooth extraction if your adult cat's teeth are overcrowded or if it has baby (deciduous) teeth. Your veterinarian will demonstrate how to clean your cat's teeth, and you should schedule regular check-ups.

Maintaining Your Cat's Teeth

Gingivitis can be avoided by using cat-specific toothbrushes and toothpaste, according to the American Dental Association. Brushing should be introduced gradually and consistently to cats in order for them to become accustomed to it.

Get your cat familiar with toothbrushes and toothpaste

Place snacks near the toothpaste and toothbrush on the counter so cats can associate them with something positive. You can also give them a dab of toothpaste to lick off your finger to get them used to it.

Get your cat used to you touching their mouth

Place a clickable treat that your cat enjoys on their canine teeth. Start placing it deeper and deeper into their mouth, on their teeth, as they become accustomed to it. This accustoms them to you touching their mouth and makes it easier to introduce the toothpaste.


Brushing your cat's teeth should be easier now that they're used to the toothbrush, toothpaste, and you touching their mouth. Brush for about 15 to 30 seconds along the gum line, only on the outside of the teeth, and then reward them with a treat.

Are you concerned with your cat's oral health? Contact our Waxhaw vets today for a consultation and possible treatment options.

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Providence South Animal Hospital provides comprehensive veterinary care for your cherished pets in Waxhaw.

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