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My Cat Lost a Tooth, Should I Be Worried? Vet Approved Facts & Advice

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on January 12, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

pet dentist cleans cat teeth in a vet clinic

My Cat Lost a Tooth, Should I Be Worried? Vet Approved Facts & Advice


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Losing our baby teeth was a part of growing up. However, when people lose their teeth in adulthood, it is a sign for concern. But is it the same for animals? What about cats? If my cat loses a tooth, should I be worried?

It all depends on the age of your cat. If they are a kitten, losing teeth is normal. Like our teeth, the baby teeth fall out to make room for the adult teeth.

However, if your cat is an adult and you notice they lost a tooth, this is something you should not ignore. An adult cat losing a tooth isn’t normal and is a sign of advanced and painful dental problems.

In this article, we explore various implications of a cat losing teeth and ways to handle the situation. Keep reading to learn more.

divider-catclaw1 Signs of Tooth Loss in a Cat

Cats are excellent at hiding any pain they may have. So, it is good to know some of the signs that indicate your cat may have lost a tooth or teeth. Here are some of these signs you need to observe.

  • Excessive saliva and drooling
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Excess tartar or plaque on the teeth
  • Inflamed, bleeding, or red gums
  • Receding gum line
  • Cracks on the teeth
  • Pus in the mouth along with the teeth or gums
  • Excess pawing at their mouth
  • Behavioral changes including aggression, avoidance, and hiding

You need to be worried when you find that your cat has lost a tooth, since serious and painful health concerns may be causing the issue.

veterinarian checks teeth of the maine coon cat
Image Credit: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock

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Why Is Your Cat Losing Teeth?

1. Physical Injuries

At times, the tooth may get knocked out or broken due to physical injury. The injury may occur when the cats are fighting or even playing. The teeth break can also occur when your cat is chewing items that might be too hard for it. The injuries can cause loss of tooth or disruption referred to as luxation. In case of disruption, your vet can remove the tooth or perform surgical repair, depending on the situation.

vet doctor examining cat in x-ray room
Image Credit: PRESSLAB, Shutterstock

2. Periodontal Disease

Your cat’s loss of tooth or teeth can also be caused by periodontal disease. The disease is caused by many reasons, including poor dental hygiene. If your cat is affected by this disease, it can cause other dental issues, such as infected gums, teeth, bad breath, and irritated gums.

The best way to ensure that your cat doesn’t get affected by periodontal disease is by brushing your cat’s teeth and having them checked regularly by your vet. Keeping your cat’s teeth clean, vaccines up to date, and overall health good is the perfect way to prevent gum and tooth diseases. Keeping your cat’s teeth clean is the perfect way to prevent gum and tooth diseases.

3. Cat Tooth Resorption

Feline odontoclastic resorptive lesion, or FORL, is also a major cause of of cat dental disease, including teeth loss. A cat affected by the condition has lesions on the teeth that look like holes or cavities in your cat’s tooth along the neckline. It can cause your cat a lot of pain and require professional vet treatment immediately.

Tooth loss may result if you fail to attend to the condition immediately and it progresses. Once your cat is affected by FORL, chances are high that they will develop this condition with their other teeth. So, you need to perform regular oral and dental checkups and observe good dental hygiene for your pet.

pet dentist cleans cat teeth in a vet clinic
Image Credit: Burdun Iliya, Shutterstock

4. Old Age

When a cat is ten to eleven years or older, they are considered senior cats. At this stage, the aging process takes a toll on your cat, and you may start seeing old age-related issues such as weakened oral health, including tooth loss.

5. Unhealthy Diet

The diet you feed your cat can affect their dental and oral health. Thus, you should feed your cat food that is complete and balanced and that contains nutrients to maintain strong teeth. If you note that your cat is losing teeth, the cause may be a poor diet. Lack of a balanced diet can make your cat’s gums and teeth become diseased.

showing cat's teeth with swollen gums
Image Credit: Yaya Photos, Shutterstock

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How Does A Toothless Cat Cope?

If your cat has lost a tooth or teeth, things might change since the pet might feel in pain and suffer from inflammation of the tissues causing them not to eat correctly. However, you still find your cat eating normally even with the lost teeth. Your cat’s front teeth are pointed and are mainly used for shearing and grabbing instead of grinding or chewing. The tongue is fully covered with papilla that helps propel food, including the prey, to the back of their oral cavity before swallowing.

When teeth suffer from dental disease, the cat rarely uses the affected teeth. Even with a lost tooth or teeth, the cat usually moves the food into the oral cavity without chewing it.

Foods to Give a Cat with a Lost Tooth or Teeth

You should give your cat soft food if they can’t chew. However, you might find your cat trying to continue eating kibble despite having no teeth. In this case, your cat uses the tongue to shovel for digestion.

You can mix kibble with canned food for a chunkier consistency that makes it perfect for your cat to digest. Note that the texture and shape preferences vary from one cat to the other. So, you need to consider what your cat prefers in the process.

Immediately after your cat loses the tooth or teeth, they might be disinterested in food. You can offer them some treats such as catnip or tuna to make them interested in eating again. Another good option is to mix your cat’s dry food with gravy or water to soften it. If it is still a problem, you can also mix wet food with dry food or give it them wet cat food.

Consider getting special food that focuses on dental care. Usually, these foods require a prescription, so speak to your vet about if this food could help your cat.

cat eating dry and wet cat food
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, shutterstock


How to Prevent Your Cat Losing Teeth

1. Keep the Teeth Clean

Cats develop tartar on their teeth, leading to periodontal disease. Bacteria accumulation on your cat’s teeth can enter the bloodstream leading to other diseases. You need to schedule regular cat teeth cleaning with your vet on top of your regular daily cleaning routine. If you are unsure about how to clean your cat’s teeth, ask your veterinarian for advice.

2. Regular Vet Visits

You should also schedule regular vet visits for your cat inspection. This helps identify any health issue with your pet in the early stages before escalating to major issues. The vet will check your cat’s weight, nutrition, health situation, and, of course, their mouth and teeth, as well as administer the necessary vaccines and internal and external parasite treatments.

divider-catclaw1 Conclusion

From the article, it is evident that if your cat loses a tooth, you need to be worried because this can indicate major problems with the cat. Tooth loss caused by different reasons is painful and can lead to serious consequences for your cat. 

Losing teeth will inevitably cause eating problems, and you don’t want to see your cat in such a situation. Having them checked regularly by a cat veterinarian can make a big difference in catching dental disease on time and acting before it progresses to an irreversible situation.

Featured Image: Burdun Iliya, Shutterstock

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