Will serving canned food to my cat negatively impact her dental health?

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Wet food is particularly prone to sticking in between the teeth and causing plaque. Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is common in cats, especially as they age. Food particles cause the accumulation of plaque, which hardens into tartar. If not removed, plaque and tartar build-up will eventually cause pain, tooth loss, and diseases of the major bodily organs. Daily brushing of your cat’s teeth, coupled with regular dental checkups by a veterinarian, will prevent periodontal disease.
To reduce tartar, feed your cat a diet of hard and canned food. Crunchy treats and toys, such as a sisal rope ball, will help eliminate plaque and tartar. When tartar begins accumulating, you may notice irritation, inflammation or bleeding along the gum line.
Other suggestions include:

• Don’t feed leftovers or sweets to your cat. Human food causes plaque and tartar to gather on teeth, leading to periodontal disease.
• Put an oral health additive in your cat’s water to help control plaque and tartar. This is recommended for senior cats with preexisting dental problems, but should not be a substitute for brushing.
• Feed dental treats to your cat. These treats remove plaque and freshen breath. Please be sure they have the VOHC seal of approval. VOHC stands for Veterinary Oral Health Council.

• Take your cat to the vet for an annual checkup. Teeth-related problems can be detected, including broken or missing teeth, decay or bad breath.

• Examine its teeth yourself, and on a regular basis. Pull your cat’s lip back tenderly and check for yellow or brown buildup, damaged teeth or irritated gums.

• Purchase a toothbrush and toothpaste at any pet store or online and start brushing your cat’s teeth while she is still a kitten, although older cats can adjust to the daily routine.

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