Will dry cat food keep my cat’s teeth free from tartar?

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The ASPCA Complete Guide to Cats (available on Amazon) recommends feeding hard, crunchy food more than soft foods to help keep the teeth and gums free of tartar buildup. Cats need their teeth checked by a veterinarian at least once a year and this can be done as part of a routine check-up
According to The Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook (also on Amazon), the most common cat tooth disease is periodontal disease. This begins as a disease of the gums, gingivitis, which spreads to the teeth. Although gingivitis in cats is reversible, periodontal disease is not.
Gingivitis is caused by a bacterial build-up (plaque) in the gums and in between the teeth. This build-up is caused by decaying organic material such as food. Wet food is particularly prone to sticking in between the teeth and causing plaque. An injury to the gums or mouth can also introduce a bacterial infection, which can result in periodontal disease.
A cat suffering from any feline tooth disease will lose its appetite, and when it does eat, will often tilt its head to one side. Cats will also drool and have breath that smells more foul than usual. The cat will also not be able to groom itself properly and start to look dirty and scruffy. If the cat has a damp neck or chest, then this is most likely from drool. Blood may be mixed in the drool. The gums will be red, inflamed, bleeding or oozing pus. The cat will often struggle when someone tries to check its mouth because of the pain.
Treatment of feline tooth disease depends on how badly the cat has been affected. Sometimes cleaning and repairing cavities may be all that is necessary, but other times the cat will need to have bad teeth pulled. A cat will be put under anesthesia for this procedure.

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