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Understanding dental diets for cats

Cats are predominately meat eaters. Their teeth are specialised for catching, killing and eating prey. Although the majority of today’s cats do not need to hunt, their teeth are similar to those of their ancestors. Cats have 30 teeth (12 incisors, 4 canines, 10 premolars and 4 molars).

Uses of a dental diet
Plaque is a mixture of oral bacteria, food debris and proteins in the saliva, which sticks to the surface of teeth. It hardens to form calculus (tartar) and more plaque accumulates on top of the tartar. This build up on the tooth hangs over the edge of the gum and creates a pocket in which more bacteria and food debris can accumulate. This leads to inflammation and infection of the gum (gingivitis), which in turn can lead to other tissues surrounding the teeth becoming inflamed and infected. If untreated, periodontal disease can lead to extensive loss of teeth as a result of damage to the structures that support them.

Cat Dental Diets are designed to promote good oral and dental hygiene in your cat. The special kibbles help to mechanically remove dental plaque and tartar. When your cat chews his food the abrasive texture of the kibble scrubs each tooth, gently working away the plaque and tartar. These complete cat food diets are designed to be fed every day and are proven to reduce plaque and tartar formation when compared to feeding a standard dry diet.

Nutritional structure
In addition to being highly palatable, the special kibbles contain specific nutrients to help support oral hygiene and also help to clean all the teeth, not just those used in chewing:

  • Sodium tripolyphosphate binds salivary calcium making it unavailable for tartar formation.
  • Zinc helps to slow down tartar build-up and has antiseptic properties so reducing bad breath.
  • Green tea polyphenols also help maintain a healthy mouth and gums.
  • The size texture and shape of the kibble enables a mild abrasive effect on the surface of the tooth removing plaque and tartar.
Dental diets have controlled protein and calcium which limits the mineralization of plaque and tartar build up. The increased fibre and larger kibble engulf the tooth when chewing before splitting and wiping the tooth surface clean

There are various dental diets available to cats including:
  • Hills Prescription Diet Feline T/D
    • Formulated specifically for the nutritional management of cats with dental disease. Because your cat can’t brush his own teeth, the build-up of plaque and tartar can lead to periodontal disease, a dental condition that can weaken the gums and tissues that support the teeth.
Remember to always seek veterinary advice before switching your cat to a different diet as they will be able to recommend the most appropriate type for your cat’s specific problems.
A dental diet is no substitute for good oral hygiene and daily tooth brushing