Your Persian's mouth can be much like a Petri dish, and as a Persian owner, you'd better be on your guard. Perhaps you've been unpleasantly surprised by a furry friend's pungent yawn blasting you in the face. Or maybe you've peeled back your Persian's lips at some point and discovered puffy, reddened flesh at the gumline.
Recently, Persian-Cats.com conducted a survey to hear about the sights and smells experienced by its members when they pry open their Persians' mouths. In addition, we wanted to hear from our members about which practices or tips have helped improve their Persians' oral health.
Persian Breath: From Neutral to Putrid
We asked our members to describe their Persians' breath in terms of odor level:
55% of respondents said the breath was neutral -- no odor.
36% claimed it was stinky but tolerable.
9% went with putrid and unholy.
Brushing (Teeth Not Fur!)
We were curious to learn about Persian tooth-brushing habits among our members:
18% of respondents brush at home. Very impressive indeed!
32% have their Persians' teeth cleaned by a vet. Some folks shared their anxieties around the sedation process, which typically goes hand in hand with vet office cleanings.
Also, it's worth mentioning that 9% of all respondents do both home brushing and vet cleanings.
Tartar, Inflammation & Decay
There are many other potential issues more serious than "the smell of the docks", as one vet put it. Persians can develop tartar buildup, inflamed gums, and/or general tooth decay. These conditions can be quite painful, especially during mealtime. 36% of respondents claimed their Persians have suffered from at least one of these conditions.
Sometimes the decay can become so severe that the tooth must be extracted. 18% of respondents said they've had to have at least one of their Persians' teeth extracted.
Genetically speaking, Persians are no strangers to jaw issues. Due to their shortened face structure, the upper or lower jaw can protrude and cause problems with the alignment of the teeth.
9% of respondents said they have Persians with jaw issues. One respondent explained:
"One of my persians has a severely overshot lower jaw, so the teeth do not line up at all. Her lower canines stuck out at odd angles and interfered with her eating."
Tips & Tricks
As always, the members of Persian-Cats.com were more than willing to share their successes around Persian dental health and hygiene:
- Some have good luck in reducing tartar buildup with Greenies treats. http://www.greenies.com/
- There are also pet food supplements, such as PlaqueOff, that can reduce bad breath, plaque and tartar. http://www.plaqueoff.com/
- Fresh breath water additives are another trick that seems to help with "mouth funk". One example is a product by Tropiclean. http://www.tropiclean.net/
- Mouth sprays, which are specially formulated for cats, are another means to freshen breath. There are many products on the market, some more natural than others, to help manage bacterial levels in your Persian's mouth.
- And if you're game for brushing, you might look into Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Toothpaste, which was mentioned in particular by one respondent. http://www.virbacvet.com/
- Finally, diet can affect oral health as well. Owners who feed raw generally claim it helps keep tartar under control. If you're partial to dry foods, some fight tartar more effectively than others, so do your homework.
Perhaps you're feeling inspired now to spend a little more time in your Persian's mouth, and if so, that's great! Of course on your journey to improved Persian dental care, we encourage you to work with your vet to identify safe products, effective practices, and a strategy for success.