Dental care is an important aspect of your cat’s overall health and wellbeing. Though it’s often associated with cosmetic appearance and a cat’s ease of eating and drinking, the importance of cat dental care spreads even wider and deeper. Just like our own dental health, a cat’s dental health has the ability to impact nearly every part of their body!
As cat parents, we pride ourselves on truly knowing our cat inside and out. We know all about their favorite treats and the birds they enjoy watching out the window. But, how much do you know about what’s going on inside your cat’s mouth? If someone asked you right now, “how many teeth does a cat have?”, would you be able to tell them?
If the answer is no, fear not! We’ve got that information and even more on the basics of cat dental care coming ahead.
Cats Have 30 Teeth
The first step towards getting your cat a healthier mouth is learning exactly what a cat mouth consists of. That includes knowing how many cat teeth you can find inside at each stage of his or her life because just like our teeth, there are changes along the way.
A full-grown adult cat has 30 adult teeth. You’ll find 16 of these teeth on the top jaw and 14 on the bottom jaw. The top jaw contains 1 molar, 3 premolars, 1 canine, and 3 incisors on each side, while the bottom jaw contains 1 molar, 2 premolars, 1 canine, and 3 incisors on each side.
However, kittens are born without any visible teeth. They start to get their deciduous or baby teeth around 3 weeks of age. This first set features 26 temporary teeth. All of a kitten’s deciduous teeth should be erupted and visible through their gums by 6 to 8 weeks of age. During this time frame, you’ll also see a change in a kitten’s eating habits, switching from nursing to eating solid food.
Even though this first set of teeth is temporary, it shouldn’t prevent you from starting to think and act on your cat’s dental care now. You can start getting both of you comfortable with regular at-home dental exams as well the use of handy dental care tools like cat-friendly toothbrushes, wipes, and chews.
What Age Do Kittens Teeth?
Just a few short weeks after kittens have in their full set of deciduous teeth – right around the 10-week mark – the kitten teething process can begin. This means that those temporary baby teeth will start to fall out and their permanent replacements will take visible root.
Incisor teeth are the first to be replaced, followed by the canine teeth, premolars, and then molars.
Even though the lifespan of kitten teeth isn’t all that long, kitten teething can last up until they are 6-7 months old. Generally, by this time, all of their permanent adult teeth will be in place.
But that isn’t always the case. Every so often, a baby tooth does not fall out completely or on its own. This is called a “persistent tooth” and it can cause the permanent tooth meant to replace it to come through the gum at a weird angle or position. If you notice that your kitten might have a persistent tooth or baby teeth beyond the 6-7 month mark, reach out to your veterinarian for further inspection.
Do Cat Teeth Fall Out?
Once your cat is over the age of 7 months and you’ve ruled out any potential persistent baby teeth, then you know that their current teeth will be the one and only set of permanent adult teeth to get them through their lives. From this point forward, any dental problems that arise including losing teeth will have a lifelong impact on your cat.
That’s exactly why prioritizing your cat’s dental health from an early age is so important and we encourage everyone to take preventative steps starting today.
Adding one more thing to your to-do list is always an overwhelming feeling, but the more often you do it the easier it will be and the quicker it will go each time! Plus, you’ll be saving yourself from time, money, and stress associated with the health risks tied to dental issues. And while brushing your cat’s teeth is still a top option, there are so many more dental care options available today.
With preventative dental care, we try to minimize cat teeth falling out on their own, but it can still happen. And the earlier you can catch dental complications resulting from tooth decay, periodontal disease, injury or trauma, and more, the more options you will have in your path forward for your cat’s dental care.
Some warning signs to look out for signifying that your cat may be experiencing dental issues include:
- Broken or loose teeth
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Chewing discomfort – chewing to one side or dropping food while chewing
- Pawing at the mouth or head shaking
- Excessive drooling
- Refusal or reluctance to eat or drink
- Bleeding or swelling in the mouth or gums
If you notice any of these signs, reach out to your veterinarian to have it checked out. They will be able to diagnose the cause of the problem as well as provide insight into care and treatment options.
Have you experienced dental health issues with your cat? If so, what were the first signs that you noticed? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.
Knowing all about your cat’s mouth and teeth is the first step forward to ensuring they have quality dental care throughout their entire life. Now that you can proudly answer “how many teeth does a cat have?”, you’re ready to take the next step to build dental care into your cat care routine.
Regular at-home dental exams are one of the five important health checks that we encourage you to perform each month to stay on top of your cat’s health. Not only will at-home dental exams help you to identify possible health concerns early, but they will also help you build a better relationship with your cat.
Join us in our Pet Health 5 Movement and together we can start tracking our pet’s health. It’s easy to sign up! We’ll send you a reminder on the 5th of each month with a checklist of what to do and how to do it. Then, all you need to do is take 5-15 minutes each month to check your cat’s health stats and log them.
Cat health care is an important step to help our cats live long and happy lives. You can start today by doing an at-home dental exam on your cat and signing up for Pet Health 5.