Maine Coon teeth problems are common. However, Maine Coon tooth loss can easily be avoided provided that owners are alert to their cat’s oral hygiene needs.
Maine Coon tooth loss commonly occurs when there has been a buildup of plaque over a cat’s teeth. It is important therefore that owners brush their Maine Coons teeth on a regular basis, to prevent the buildup of plaque, which subsequently causes tooth decay or gum disease. Periodontal disease is common in cats, therefore early intervention to fix stage 1 symptoms of halitosis and gingivitis is paramount.
Keep reading to discover what Maine Coon tooth care routines you can introduce straight away, to prevent the buildup of plaque over your treasured Maine Coons teeth.
Maine Coon Tooth Care
Looking after your Maine Coon kitten’s teeth is more important than you might first think. This is particularly true of the Maine Coon cat breed since they are prone to developing periodontal disease if their teeth are not brushed on a regular basis.
Yes, your cat might be super clever, but you cannot expect them to brush their teeth themselves, can you?!
Owners that establish a Maine Coon tooth care routine, therefore, significantly reduce the chance of plaque building up on their cat’s teeth. Plaque is a silent threat that owners must watch out for since it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. In the worst scenario, it can even lead to Maine Coon tooth loss.
So what’s the answer? … It’s simple! Owners should purchase a toothbrush specifically designed for cats, like this one on Amazon. This sets particularly useful because it includes full-sized toothbrushes AND finger brushes. Every cat is different, so why pay for two different sets when you can get everything you need in one place? Use a combination of these brushes to brush your Maine Coons teeth every day.
If brushing your Maine Coon teeth seems like a foreign concept, click here to skip straight to our instructions on introducing Maine Coon tooth care brushing to your cats correctly.
Before you rush out and start brushing your cat’s teeth with your human toothpaste, STOP! Our toothpaste is poisonous to our feline friends so place an order for one of these poultry-tasting cat toothpastes instead.
How Many Teeth Do Maine Coon Cats Have?
If you are going to introduce a Maine Coon tooth care routine to help avoid Maine Coon tooth loss, you will need to know how many teeth your cat actually has. So let’s start from the beginning…
The first thing you need to know is that Maine Coon kittens are similar to human babies, in the sense that they are not born with teeth. In fact, according to ASPCA a Maine Coon kittens baby teeth will not start to appear until they are roughly 3 weeks old. These baby teeth differ to their permanent teeth, since they are smaller and have pointed tips. A Maine Coon kitten will grow 26 baby teeth.
The second key stage of a Maine Coon’s teeth development happens around the 3-4 month mark when a Maine Coon kitten’s baby teeth begin to fall out, as they are replaced by permanent Maine Coon teeth. The first permanent Maine Coon teeth to appear are the middle incisors, which are thought to appear around the 14-week mark. Between 15-16 weeks of age, the second and third incisors start to show (source 1).
The third most noticeable stage in your Maine Coon kitten’s tooth development is at 4-5 months of age. At this point, most of your Maine Coon kitten’s baby teeth will shed since they have been replaced by adult Maine Coon teeth which are permanent.
The final stage of Maine Coon teeth development occurs when your kitten reaches approximately 6 months of age. Your Maine Coon kitten will have 30 permanent teeth, which will not shed.
Maine Coon Teeth Development Timeline
If you prefer a visual representation of Maine Coon teeth development, take a look at the Maine Coon teeth timeline below:
|Maine Coon Teeth||Description|
|Newborn||Maine Coon kittens are not born with teeth|
|3 Weeks||Maine Coon baby teeth begin to appear. They are sharp and pointed|
|6 Weeks||26 Baby Teeth|
|3-4 Months||Adult permanent teeth begin to grow. They are wider and have flat edges. They are not pointed like the Maine Coon baby teeth|
|4-5 Months||Kitten baby teeth begin to shed|
|6 Months||Kitten’s grows 30 permanent teeth|
Maine Coon Permanent Teeth
Of the 30 permanent teeth that Maine Coon cats grow, each adult tooth will have a different function i.e. whether it be for holding their prey, killing it, or shredding it.
Here is a breakdown of your Maine Coons permanent teeth:
1. Small Incisors
Maine Coons have 12 small incisors. These are the smaller teeth between canines on the upper and lower jaws. Cats have six incisors in the mandible, and six in the maxilla.
Incisors help keep cats tongue in their mouth. They also enable cat to grasp food.
2. Canine Teeth
Otherwise known as ‘Maine Coon Fangs’, the Maine Coon cat has 4 canine teeth. They have 2 at the bottom of their jaw, and 2 fangs at the top.
Sharp canine teeth help a Maine Coon cat kill and shred their prey.
Maine Coon cats have 10 premolars. They have 3 Premolars on each side of the upper jaw, and 2 premolars on each side of the lower jaw.
The function of the premolars is to sheer the cat’s prey, into smaller more edible chunks. This is achieved, by using the sharp edge of the premolars.
Cats have 4 molars. They have one upper and lower molar on each side.
Their sharp-edged molars are used by your Maine Coon cat for sheering their prey, into small more edible chunks.
Common Maine Coon Teeth Problems
Maine Coon tooth loss is a thing that all owners should watch out for since it can cause pain to your cat, and damage their sense of wellbeing.
Failure to instill a Maine Coon tooth care routine will increase your cat’s chances of developing tooth decay, gum disease, and potentially Maine Coon tooth loss. It is therefore imperative that owners care for their cat’s teeth, and seek veterinary professional assistance when required.
Before you start to panic though, take comfort in the fact that Maine Coon teeth problems are far less likely to occur if you pay close attention to your Maine Coon cat’s oral hygiene needs.
Although brushing will not eliminate all dental health issues your Maine Coons teeth face, it will significantly reduce the occurrence of plaque building up on your Maine Coons teeth.
The following are the key Maine Coon teeth problems, that you cat is at risk of developing:
- Tooth Resorption
- Periodontal Disease
The table below summarises each of these issues briefly:
|Maine Coon Teeth Problem||Description|
|Tooth Resorption||Occurs when the bone structure of cats’ teeth starts to break down.|
|Stomatitis||Characterized by widespread oral inflammation, beyond gingivitis and periodontitis. It can extend into a cat’s submucosal tissues (source 1)|
|Periodontal Disease||Plaque is a form of bacteria that builds up on, and around a cat’s teeth. This causes inflammation of a cat’s tooth and gum support structures|
What Is Tooth Resorption?
Tooth resorption occurs when the cat’s tooth structure begins to break down, from the inside. It affects between 30-70% of the overall cat population, yet despite such high odds of developing this condition it is still not known what causes the disease to occur, in the first place.
Tooth resorption is considered one of the most likely causes of Maine Coon tooth loss. It is important that owners identify the key symptoms of this disease during the early stages since the disease can develop into other parts of the tooth.
Symptoms of tooth resorption include:
- Look for a pinkish coloring at the point where the tooth meets the gum. This is one of the earliest signs of tooth resorption.
- Cat stops eating
- The cat appears to have mouth pain
- Tooth loss
- The cat turns their head whilst eating, to move their cat food away from teeth causing them discomfort
If you suspect that your cat has Maine Coon tooth resorption, seek advice from a veterinary professional immediately. This is important because evidence of tooth resorption indicates that severe tooth damage has already occurred. In situations such as this, the veterinary professional and owner will together need to agree on a management strategy for the cat’s oral hygiene moving forwards.
What Is Stomatitis?
If your cat develops Maine Coon stomatitis, then they will likely have widespread oral inflammation which can take a long time to treat. This painful, yet very common feline condition is caused by certain viruses, some inflammatory conditions, and dental disease i.e. periodontal disease (source 1).
Stomatitis can affect a Maine Coon of any age or gender. It is characterized by painful inflammation of the cat’s mouth and gums, which causes ulcers to develop in their mouth. The disease goes beyond gingivitis and periodontitis. It is thought to extend into the cat’s submucosal tissues (source 1).
Symptoms of Stomatitis include:
- Excessive Drooling
- Oral Discomfort
- Persistent inflammation and ulceration of oral mucosa
- Dropping Food
You may notice your Maine Coons has stopped eating since the disease is simply too painful for them to open their mouths. When they do try to eat it is likely they may yelp from the mouth pain, and drop their food.
Other possible symptoms of Stomatitis include:
- Bad breath
- Paw at face and mouth
- Messy fur
- Weight loss
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Otherwise known as ‘gum disease’, periodontal disease is extremely common and occurs when the tissues around a Maine Coon cat’s teeth (also known as the periodontium) become inflamed.
Periodontal disease is extremely common in all cat breeds, and should never be ignored because it can result in heart valve and kidney health conditions. This occurs if the periodontal oral bacteria enter the Maine Coon cats bloodstream, via diseased oral tissues.
There are two stages of Maine Coon periodontal disease:
- Stage 1: Halitosis
- Stage 1: Gingivitis
- Stage 2: Periodontitis
You will no doubt have noticed that there are two different teeth issues listed under stage 1. Please note this is not a mistake!
Stage 1: Halitosis
One of the first stages of periodontal disease, is halitosis.
Halitosis is one of the most noticeable stages of periodontal disease, simply because an owner will notice their beloved cat’s breath beginning to smell foul! All of a sudden, an owner does not want to cuddle up with their furry feline friend, since they are repulsed by their cat’s breath.
If this sounds familiar, ask your veterinary professional for advice asap, since halitosis is reversible if attended to immediately. The vet will be able to clean your cat’s teeth, and then recommend a regular Maine Coon teeth cleaning routine moving forwards, which will help to keep your cat’s teeth clean and healthy.
But what actually is halitosis?
Put simply, halitosis is the result of food residue becoming trapped in between the cat’s gums and teeth. If owners are not brushing their Maine Coons teeth regularly, this food residue will interact with bacteria already in a cat’s mouth. The food residue then begins to rot and emit a foul smell which the owners are likely to find offensive.
Stage 1: Gingivitis
Also included within the first stages of Maine Coon periodontal disease, is gingivitis. This stage of the disease is thought to affect 80% of cats over 3 years old. Gingivitis sits within stage 1 of the disease since it is reversible if an owner intervenes during the early stages (source 1).
Gingivitis occurs when there is a buildup of plaque on the surface of your cat’s teeth. Since plaque is a sticky residue formed from sugars, it clings to the cat’s teeth. If left untreated, plaque will start to grow underneath your Maine Coons gums (source 1).
Plaque is one of the key reasons why periodontal disease occurs, and should never be left untreated. This buildup is dangerous for a cat because if not addressed immediately, it can lead to Maine Coon tooth loss. One reason for this is that the cat’s immune system will try to attack the sticky plaque by releasing toxins designed to break the plaque down. These toxins often result in the cat’s gums becoming inflamed.
Stage 2: Periodontitis
Periodontitis is the final stage of Maine Coon periodontal disease and is not reversible. It occurs when a cat’s gingivitis is left untreated and is very serious for your Maine Coons health and wellbeing.
What is periodontitis?
Periodontitis occurs when the soft tissues and bones of your Maine Coons mouth have been affected. Cats suffering from periodontitis will have periodontal ligament damage, receding gums, and/or bone loss.
If you suspect your cat has periodontitis, seek immediate veterinary professional assistance.
An owner must never delay seeking professional help at this stage since the plaque on your Maine Coons teeth will have built up in the cat’s gum lines. This plaque will have then reacted with the minerals and saliva from your cat’s mouth, leading to the formation of tartar. Tartar irritates a cat’s gums and needs to be mechanically removed as soon as possible, to prevent Maine coon tooth loss.
How To Brush Your Maine Coons Teeth
In order to keep your Maine Coon cat’s teeth clean and healthy, brush your cat’s teeth on a regular basis, ideally daily. This is important since regular brushing helps to prevent plaque building up on your Maine Coons teeth, which if left untreated can lead to tooth decay, and gum disease.
If cleaning your cat’s teeth regularly proves challenging, make sure that your Maine Coon tooth care brushing routine is undertaken no less than 2-4 times a week. Whilst this frequency might seem high, it is vital since your cat cannot brush their own teeth!
Owners should only use toothbrushes that have been specifically designed for cats.
NEVER use a human toothbrush on your cat! This is because your cat’s jaw is far smaller, therefore a human toothbrush will be too big, and may cause damage to your cat’s mouth. Cat toothbrushes are also designed with finer bristles, which are very soft on the cat’s teeth and gums. By comparison, a human’s toothbrush bristles are far thicker.
Additionally, owners should also only use toothpaste that has been specifically designed for cats. Human toothpaste must not be used on cats, EVER. Never risk the health of your cat. Always buy toothpaste designed specifically for cats, such as this one on Amazon.
If you find your cat isn’t a fan of the vanilla/mint flavoring, consider a more poultry-tasting cat toothpaste, like this one.
Always remember that the entire teeth brushing process must never be rushed. Instead, create a calm and loving environment. Always go at your Maine Coons pace, not yours.
The table below shows a 10 step guide to brushing your Maine Coons teeth correctly:
|Start Young||The best time to introduce a Maine Coon tooth care routine is whilst your cat is a kitten|
|Go Slow||Let your cat set the pace. Never force them to have their teeth brushed as this could create a negative association|
|Dip Finger In Butter||Give your cat a cuddle, and let them lick your buttery finger. With your other hand, gently stroke their mouth and jawline. If they do not like being stroked on their mouth, stop immediately. Reward them for good behavior|
|Buttery Gums!||Once your cat is happy to have their mouth and jawline touched, gently open their mouth and slowly progress to wiping butter on their gums. This stage of the process gets them used to an owner touching their gums and teeth|
|Introduce Finger Toothbrush||Place a finger toothbrush on your finger, then gently stroke your cat’s mouth and jawline. Your cat will likely want to smell or scent the finger toothbrush, so allow them. Never rush the process|
|Buttery Finger Toothbrush||Place finger toothbrush on your finger, then wipe a small amount of butter on it. Gently and slowly place finger toothbrush in cats mouth, and aim to brush just one of your Maine Coon kitten’s teeth. If they are frightened, stop immediately. Repeat the process every day, until the cat is comfortable with having their teeth brushed with a finger toothbrush|
|Introduce Cat Toothpaste||Place a small amount of cat toothpaste on a finger toothbrush. Allow cat to lick it. If they like the taste, carefully and gently brush their teeth. If they dislike the taste, try a different flavoring i.e. poultry|
|Reward||Reward your cat with a treat, every time you brush their teeth. This creates a positive association in their minds, and they will want to have their teeth brushed, to get their treat|
|Cat Toothbrush or Finger Toothbrush||Owners decide if they want to start brushing their cat’s teeth with a cat toothbrush or stick with a finger toothbrush|
|Establish Routine||Decide upon a Maine Coon tooth care routine, that both you and your cat is happy with|
Video Of Maine Coon Kitten Brushing Their Teeth
I never thought I’d see the day when a Maine Coon cat brushed their own teeth!
Take a look at this very clever Maine Coon kitten, who happily brushes his teeth, with the help of his owner.
Maine Coon tooth care involves regular brushing and cleaning, to keep your cats teeth clean and healthy. Failure to instill a regular Maine Coon tooth care routine can result in serious occurrences, such as oral pain, tooth resorption, gum disease, Maine Coon tooth loss. All such issues can damage the wellbeing of your cat, so should be avoided.
Regular brushing is the key to reducing the chance of your Maine Coon developing periodontal disease. If you are unsure how to brush your cat’s teeth, please follow the 10 step process listed above, or seek veterinary professional advice.
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