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Common Causes And Treatment For Bad Breath

Bad breath (halitosis) can happen to anyone; even our most fastidious feline friends can be afflicted with halitosis. While cat breath does not usually smell like a bouquet of flowers, it should not consistently smell awful.

There are many causes of bad breath in cats, with dental disease (Periodontal disease) being one of the leading causes. Studies have shown that between 50 and 90% of cats older than four years suffer from some form of dental disease.


Dental Disease In Cats

Bad breath in cats is generally associated with either gingivitis, stomatitis, or periodontitis.

Gingivitis is an early form of periodontal disease, which refers to inflammation of the gums and other tissues that support a tooth.

Stomatitis is a more generalized inflammation of most or all of the oral tissues, including gums, tongue, inner surfaces, lips, and/or floor and roof.

If a cat suffers from gingivitis for an extended period of time, periodontal disease may develop. If left untreated, it can cause plaque to harden and form tartar on a cat's teeth, making little holes in the gum line.


These holes can harbor bacteria that lead to severe periodontal disease, which causes bad breath in cats.

The following are symptoms of dental diseases in cats:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Redness of the gums
  • Bad breath
  • Irritability
  • Inability to eat
  • Dropping food from the mouth
  • Rubbing the mouth or chin area

Additional Causes of Feline Halitosis

Oral diseases caused by bacteria are the most common cause of bad breath in your cat. There are, however, other illnesses and conditions that can also cause bad breath in cats.

  • Ulcers and sores
  • Teething in young kittens
  • Abscess or infection
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Diet
  • Cancer


Given the many possible causes for halitosis, bringing your cat to a veterinarian is important if unpleasant smells develop in its mouth.


Tips For Taking Care Of Your Cat's Dental Health

Caring for your cat's teeth can be accomplished in two ways: by providing dental care at home and by getting professional vet cleaning and treatment.

Home Dental Care For Your Cat

Regularly brushing your cat's teeth can help reduce plaque and tartar build-up, as well as bad breath. When cleaning your cat's teeth, it's essential to do so somewhere comfortable and with the use of a specially designed cat-friendly toothbrush.

If you must clean your cat's teeth at home, use toothpaste made for felines. Some cats are more cooperative than others when it comes to teeth cleaning. If your cat is particularly difficult, consider taking him or her to the vet for guidance.

Professional Dental Care

If you think your cat needs a more thorough and complete clean, it may be worth having its teeth cleaned by a veterinarian. Your vet's tools and equipment are more advanced than those you may have at home.


Having your vet give your cat's teeth a professional cleaning will help remove plaque and tartar that could be lodged in its mouth. A trip to the vet can help reduce a cat's bad breath as well as treat (and possibly remove) any rotten or painful teeth.


North Shore Animal Hospital Will Treat Your Cat To The Best Dental Care! 

North Shore Animal Hospital is a full-service veterinary facility in the Bayside, Flushing, Whitestone, and surrounding areas dedicated to providing your pet with state-of-the-art dental care services.
Our dental team is skilled in ridding your pet of plaque and tartar, eliminating bad breath, treating gum disease, removing infected teeth—and the source of pain for animals with toothaches. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us today!


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