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Healthy Gums?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I had read on the internet that one way to check for healthy gums is to gently press down on a cat's gums and then release to watch what happens. The gums should have turned white under pressure but return to their previous color within 1-2 seconds after letting go. Has anyone heard of this "test"?

So today I gave this a try. Conditions weren't perfect but the color did not return for more like 4-6 seconds...and then it was still a little off. I can't be sure if I did it right.

Nano does not have bad breath but her teeth look significantly less attractive than the other cats I have been observing lately. So it is not a gross mess but her teeth and gums could probably use some help.

Due to difficult conditions -- mainly that this is a rescued stray cat who had gone semi-feral and is only gradually getting re-acclimated -- there is no possible way I can brush her teeth right now.

So...what can be done to help with teeth and gums? I feed her Authority dry and canned food (Petsmart's generic brand). Someone gave me two cans of Whisker Lickin's treats that boast "tartar control" but I don't know just how effective it is. Any suggestions?
post #2 of 7
Hi Nano,

I have heard of this test to determine level of hydration, but not for healthy gums ... from my experience with cats and dental issues, I would have to say that if the gums appear pink and healthy, everything is fine there. The teeth may have some plaque and tarter buildup but unless you see a red line where the gums and teeth meet, you shouldn't have an active gingivitis infection going on in there. This kitty may benefit strongly from a dental cleaning and subgingival scraping.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
There was no odor or sign of infection but the teeth do not look very good. This is not a crisis but the teeth have not really improved while other parts of Nano seem to be recovering on their own (or with Nano's help).

Besides brushing and scraping, what are some passive ways to work on getting the teeth cleaner?

(I am also working on the hydration issue.)
post #4 of 7
That test actually is to check capillary refill time, which can be a test for anemia (and secondarily for dehydration, but the skin fold is easier there).

Gums should be pink, not red. Teeth can be a little yellow or even streaked with brown in a middle-aged or older cat, but there should be minimal visible tartar build-up.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks! Nano is 6-8 years old so she is certainly no spring chicken.

Any tips on how to passively work on cleaning her teeth? Do those "tartar control" or "good for teeth" treats actually have any impact?
post #6 of 7
My vet told me some time ago that I could use those new wipes on my cat's teeth if brushing them was difficult for me. (and it is) I think they are called "Brush Ups" and they are made by Oral B.

Now the thing I would be concerned about here is the mint flavoring on these wipes. I have not used them on my cat but I do keep a few in my car to use before I go on appointments. And they taste strongly like mint.

You might ask your vet what he thinks of this - but again, I haven't tried it even though mine did suggest it.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
I was at the huge Petsmart yesterday and checked out the "Brushups". It is a solid suggestion but I passed because I didn't think I would be able to get close enough to Nano's teeth for her to sit still for it.

But I am keeping a list of notes because I will do things as Nano becomes more accepting of me over time.
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