Caring for Your Cat’s Oral Health: Do the Flip Lip Test

May 05, 2017

A kitten’s chin

Did you know that approximately 75% of pets older than the age of 3 will experience signs of periodontal disease?* Pretty scary. Periodontal disease is an infection that damages the tissue and bones that support teeth. It is the most commonly diagnosed health issue in cats. 

So how do you know if your cat’s oral health is on track? With just a flip of your cat’s lip (and a regular check for warning signs), you can save your cat unneeded pain and suffering.

Here’s how to stay on top of your cat’s oral health in six easy steps.

Step 1: Choose the right time.

Pick a time of day to do the exam when your cat is calm or relaxed. That way, they will be more receptive to having you in their space. Steer clear of playtime or before or after feeding time, because your cat might be overly excited or protective.

Step 2: Conduct a facial exam.

  • While looking at your cat’s face, feel along the upper and lower jaw for signs of abnormalities, discomfort or swelling.
  • Check for eye or nasal discharge.
  • Examine the outside of the lips for swelling or inflammation.

Step 3: Inspect your cat's mouth.

  • Gently flip your cat’s lips up to examine their mouth and teeth.
  • Check the front and back teeth for plaque, tartar and signs of tooth decay, including bad breath and yellow-brown crust (tartar) along the gumline. Pay particular attention to the upper back teeth (molars), as the outside surfaces are typically the most prone to plaque and tartar build-up.
  • Examine the gums for redness, inflammation or a yellow appearance.
  • Check the surface of the tongue for symmetry and ulceration.

Step 4: Reward your cat.

After completing the exam, reward your cat with praise or a treat, like GREENIESTM SMARTBITESTM. It will make you both feel better!

Step 5: Follow up on your concerns.

  • Consult your veterinarian if your cat has sensitivity around the mouth, difficulty chewing or eating, bad breath, red or swollen gums, discolored teeth or other abnormalities.
  • Remember that only a trained veterinarian or technician will be able to catch all possible oral-health issues. Schedule semi-annual veterinary oral exams for your cat.
  • Keep in mind that X-rays and professional cleanings might be needed as advised by your veterinarian.
  • On your next visit to the vet, ask about pet foods and treats that also have dental benefits.

Step 6: Remember daily dental care.

Make sure to continue daily preventive care. The best way to keep your cat’s teeth healthy between veterinary cleanings is to brush her teeth daily. Also try a daily FELINE GREENIES™ Dental Treat, which is proven to reduce tartar.

*American Veterinary Medical Association