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Sphynx cats are a very rare breed and with this uniqueness comes a variety of challenges and issues. One such issue is their teeth and the dental problems that follow. It’s very common for the Sphynx breed to face difficulties with their teeth and overall dental health.
Sphynx cats don’t necessarily have bad teeth but they are prone to dental issues. Due to their unique genetic makeup, it’s common for their teeth to discolor, build up plaque faster, and be at risk for other dental-related issues. While not all sphynx have problems with their teeth, it’s a trait that resonates with this breed.
I’ve heard and read many complaints from sphynx owners regarding the teeth of their hairless cats. Some owners complain about their cat’s teeth turning black, some complaint about missing teeth, while others complain about excessive plaque buildup and gum disease to the point of extraction.
This is definitely a breed-related issue that can be regarded as the side effects of their hairless feature. While this isn’t a direct result of the mutated gene, it does play a negative role in their dental health.
While all cats experience dental issues, this breed is more at risk therefore more maintenance is required to ensure healthy teeth and gums. This is one of the reasons sphynx cats are hard to take care of.
Why do Sphynx Teeth Turn Black? Possible Solutions.
While this may sound bizarre, it’s possible for your sphynx teeth to turn black/brown in color. This colorization could be the result of grooming, nursing, or staining of the teeth caused by the gene which makes them hairless.
We know that sphynx cats lack hair and the oils on their skin aren’t absorbed. This excess oil together with dust, debris, and sweat forms a sticky greasy substance that gets in their teeth while grooming or nursing.
The black greasy substance can cover the area of the front teeth specifically the canines leaving a black residue. Over time the teeth can discolor giving them a black/brown appearance. Also, antibiotics like the use of tetracycline in young cats can also cause the blackening of teeth.
After all, it isn’t uncommon for breeders to administer antibiotics to treat certain diseases. The next possible reason for black teeth is caused by discoloration, possibly genetic.
This darkening of the teeth is normally towards the bottom of the teeth away from the gum line. While this doesn’t pose a threat to their dental health it does give a displeasing aesthetic.
Normally sphynx owners become worried and fearful when they notice this discoloration. Speak to your nearest vet for further treatment and dental care if you feel the problem is worsening.
Solutions For Black Teeth?
Most of the time, proper hygiene can remove the greasy residue that is covering the teeth. Dental wipes, brushing or a soft cloth can be used to remove any greasy substance.
If cleaning products aren’t working. It could be the teeth are stained, a good enzymatic whitening toothpaste may help.
If your sphynx teeth are darkening and worsening despite your efforts of trying to keep their teeth clean, it could be that the problem is genetic and you can consult with your vet for further information.
Other Dental Problems Sphynx Cats Are Prone Too?
1. Excessive Plaque Buildup.
Like with all cats plaque build-up is a common problem. With sphynx cats, the chances of plaque build-up are higher. This is because they have high metabolisms, making them hungry very often thus consuming more food.
The more frequently food is eaten, the greater chances of plaque build-up due to the food particles getting stuck on their teeth and bacterial growth. As we know that plaque buildup is the start of gum disease which can cause dental loss if untreated.
Another possible reason for increased plaque formation can be the increased amount of germs in the cat’s mouth. Since Sphynx cats are hairless, germs and bacteria settle on their skin and are then carried to their mouth while grooming.
This increased bacteria only causes an increased possibility of plaque and calculus which can cause dental disease.
Gingivitis is a gum disease that is fairly common in felines. It’s caused by plaque buildup and poor oral hygiene. The gums respond with irritation and inflammation-causing swelling and redness.
Normally gingivitis is mild and can be treated, however, it is a signal to start practicing proper hygiene.
3. Loss Of Teeth In Sphynx Cats.
Tooth loss is also another dental problem that sphynx cats face. As I’ve mentioned earlier many sphynx owners complain of missing teeth.
While it’s normal for young sphynx under 6 months to lose their baby teeth in order for permanent teeth to grow. Some older sphynxes and adults also have missing teeth. This can be because of tooth extractions.
Whereby the teeth are infected and diseased to the point of no return that extraction is the only option.
In extreme cases, the teeth have decayed and become brittle. In which pieces fall out, eventually the teeth fall out while causing pain and discomfort.
4. Sphynx And Bad Breath.
Sphynx cats generally have a mild smell to their breath, but when the smell becomes unbearable and foul like it must be checked out. Most of the time bad breath will indicate infection or mouth ulcers.
This must be treated immediately to fight off infection as this can cause pain and discomfort. Normally a round of antibiotics will fight off any infection.
Bad breath can also be a sign of poor oral health. Over time, this can negatively affect your cat’s dental health since they will be susceptible to tooth decay and bacterial growth which can permanently damage healthy teeth.
Ways To Keep Sphynx Teeth Clean.
To Preserve your sphynx teeth, proper maintenance is key. Almost every dental disease and issue are caused by poor hygiene and to combat this you need to be consistent and practice a good oral routine.
It’s always best to prevent dental issues rather than to cure them. For this reason, dental hygiene must be practiced from an early age to acclimate the sphynx to the prescribed cleaning routine.
Here are a few Ways To ensure Healthy gums and teeth.
Regular brushing is a MUST. Brushing is a simple hygiene requirement that can be underestimated and disregarded. This is an effective way to remove food particles, plaque, and black grease that may have been ingested while grooming.
It’s preferred that you start brushing at an early age to make sure the cat becomes familiar with it. For older cats, it may be a hassle trying to get them to stay still while brushing, but over time they will get used to it.
Proper brushes and enzymatic toothpaste that is feline friendly is best.
2. Dental Checkups And Cleaning.
Dental Checkups are very much needed for early dental diagnosis, cleaning purposes, and maintaining optimal dental health. We’ve already established that the sphynx breed is prone to dental issues, so dental Checkups are literally a no-brainer.
Vets recommend at least one dental checkup a year to keep teeth healthy and for early diagnosis of gum and teeth disease.
Ideally two Checkups a year would be great, especially if the cat already has bad teeth. However, this is often dependent on how well your cat’s oral routine is being practiced.
Basically, it boils down to how you take care of your feline’s teeth. Good oral habits from early on will save you a lot in dental costs.
3. Dental Treats.
Dental treats are a great way to get your feline’s teeth cleaned, especially those cats that aren’t used to brushing. These treats are textured to help clean teeth while they chew. The chewing motion when the cat bites on these chews scraps the teeth gently removing plaque and any buildup.
While these treats are great, make sure to use treats that are approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). These approved products have been tried and tested to make sure they are at a standard to be effective.
The FELINE GREENIES are a VOHC-accepted product and are an overall ideal tasty treat for your cat. It gets the job done while being a tasty treat for your cat to enjoy.
4. Toys and Chewy Objects.
Toys and chew treat or even bones work well to help clean teeth. Domesticated cats are normally indoors and aren’t exposed to the wild that lurks outdoors. They don’t prey for their own food nor do they have to protect themselves.
These toys can help stimulate their predatory instincts in the process helping keep teeth clean. Make sure to get soft, chewy toys since toys that are hard and rigid can cause them pain. The Petstages dental toy is a recommended all-in-one product
5. Fresh Water And Dental Additives.
Water is very important in ensuring proper dental health. Water can be disregarded but this simple step can help prevent dental issues. Drinking water can help wash the cat’s mouth, removing any leftover food that may have been hidden in hard-to-reach areas.
Another great oral hack is to apply dental additives to your sphynx water. This option is easy, convenient, and works well as part of a dental routine. These additives contain enzymes that help in destroying bacteria that cause tartar.
This product works well for cats that aren’t used to having their teeth cleaned and it’s hassle-free.
6. Dental Wipes.
Dental wipes are just normal wipes which is safe for internal use. These wipes contain active ingredients that help fight off disease-causing bacteria. This is a good option for cats that still need to acclimate to their oral routine.
How To Brush Sphynx Cat Teeth? Recommended Products
Brushing still remains the classic way of cleaning teeth, however with cats specifically sphynx cats this task can be very difficult since these cats are very active and won’t sit still. At first, it will be almost impossible trying to brush your sphynx teeth, but after a while, they will ease up a little.
Brushing is required at least once a week, with two times being a preferred option. Below are a few guidelines to follow when brushing.
1. Catch the kitty at the right time. Their mood plays a big role in how they react and if they will give you a chance to get the job done. Most owners brush their teeth while bathing them as the water may be a distraction to keep them occupied.
2. Get a good brush that is of proportionate size to the cat’s mouth. Some pet brushes are just way too big and will not be comfortable for them. The Virbac C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Kit is a great 2-in-1 combo deal that works well. Judging by the great reviews and ratings I can see why people love this product.
3. Once you have all supplies ready, dip your fingers in tuna water or cat food liquids. This will attract them to you as they will lick your fingers. This will be a great way to distract them enough to brush their teeth.
4. Rub the toothpaste gently on their gums, while keeping them distracted. Using a small toothbrush apply some toothpaste to the brush and gently brush their teeth.
5. Start from one side and work your way to the other side. Be sure to lift their lip on either side to expose the teeth underneath.
6. Be gentle and patient and allow for proper cleaning. If the cat becomes restless and resists, give them some time to calm down or you could give them their favorite toy or something to bite on.
7. With consistent brushing, the cat will get used to it and the process will be easier. Some cats, however, will refuse despite your greatest efforts, in this case, you can choose another cleaning method that’s less stressful.