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Getting Purrsonal – Nothing But the Tooth
By Tania Marie de Saram
All cats are carnivores, which means that they derive their food and energy requirements solely from animal tissue or meat, and their teeth reflect this. Though kittens are born with no visible teeth, between the ages of three and eight weeks, 26 milk teeth will develop: 12 incisors, four canines, and ten premolars.
Just like hoomans, milk teeth fall out in favour of adult, permanent teeth, and this starts to happen around the three-month mark, starting with the incisors, then the canines, and finally the premolars. By seven months of age, your furry friend will have her full set of 30 adult teeth.
Of these, 12 are incisors, found at the front of her mouth, and used for gripping. Next in line are the four canines, with their characteristic ‘fang’ appearance: these assist pusses with killing and shredding their ‘prey’. Along the sides are ten premolars, which cut food up into chunks, and finally at the back are four molars that crush bone. Cats only move their jaws up and down so they cannot chew; the molars are therefore not for grinding as they are in their doggy counterparts.
Periodontal disease is a collective term for many inflammatory conditions in the mouth, and by the age of three years, 70% of cats have some form of ailment. Therefore, dental hygiene is an essential part of feline wellbeing; we encourage daily brushing with a cat-specific toothpaste. However, you should never use any products that are intended for human use as fluoride, that is often present, can cause serious illness if consumed. ❤