Do Cats Teeth Grow Or Fall Out?

Cats, like humans, develop two sets of teeth throughout their lifetime – baby teeth and adult teeth. Kittens are born without teeth, and at around 2-4 weeks old, their baby teeth start coming in. Kittens have a set of 26 deciduous or milk teeth that eventually fall out as their permanent adult teeth grow in. By the time kittens are 6-8 months old, they typically have all 30 of their adult teeth.

Cited: VCA Hospitals

Types of Teeth

Cats have four types of teeth: incisors, canines, premolars, and molars (Mission Ridge Veterinary Hospital, para. 2).

Incisors are small, sharply pointed teeth at the front of the mouth used for grasping and tearing meat (Morais, 2012). Adult cats have a total of 12 incisors, with 6 incisors on the top jaw and 6 on the bottom.

Canine teeth, also known as fangs, are located behind the incisors and are pointed and conical shaped. Cats have four canine teeth total – two on the top and two on the bottom. These are used for grabbing, holding, and tearing meat (Morais, 2012).

Premolars are located behind the canine teeth. Cats have a total of 10 premolars, with 6 premolars on the upper jaw and 4 on the lower jaw. Premolars help shred and slice meat off bone (Morais, 2012).

Molars are large, flat teeth located at the far back of the mouth and are used for chewing and grinding food. Cats have a total of 4 molars, with 2 on the top and 2 on the bottom (Mission Ridge Veterinary Hospital, para. 2).


Mission Ridge Veterinary Hospital. (n.d.). Dog and cat teeth: The basics.

Morais, H. (2012). Dental anatomy of cats.

Kitten Teeth

Kittens are born without any teeth. Their first teeth, known as baby or milk teeth, start coming in around 3-4 weeks of age. These early teeth are the incisors and canines. According to Hill’s Pet Nutrition, “A kitten’s baby teeth, also known as milk or deciduous teeth, first break through when a cat is about 3 or 4 weeks old. The incisors and primary canines come in first.”

By the time a kitten is 6-8 weeks old, all of its baby teeth will have erupted through the gums. Kittens have a total of 26 temporary teeth. The full set includes:

  • 12 incisors (6 top, 6 bottom)
  • 4 canines (2 top, 2 bottom)
  • 10 premolars (4 top, 6 bottom)

Since kittens are born toothless, their baby teeth serve an important purpose for eating solid food and exploring their surroundings.

Losing Baby Teeth

Kittens start losing their baby teeth around 3-4 months old as their permanent adult teeth start pushing through the gums. According to Mountainaire Animal Clinic, kittens start teething and losing baby teeth typically around 12 weeks or 3 months of age (

The process of losing baby teeth and getting adult teeth takes several months to complete. Wellpethumane states that kittens should have a full set of 30 adult teeth by the age of 6 months, though the baby teeth fall out at varying times over those months (

As the permanent teeth emerge, they push out the baby teeth, which the kitten will swallow. Owners may find small baby teeth around as they fall out while eating or playing.

Adult Teeth

By around 6 months of age, most kittens have their full set of 30 adult teeth. According to VCA Hospitals, adult teeth start coming in when a kitten is about 4-6 months old. The permanent adult canine teeth are usually the last to come in at 5-6 months of age.

Kittens should have all of their baby teeth replaced with permanent adult teeth by the time they are 6-7 months old. Some cats can take up to 9 months to get their full adult set, but by 1 year old they should have their complete set of 30 adult teeth.

Taking Care of Teeth

Taking care of your cat’s teeth is important to prevent dental disease. Here are some tips:

Brushing your cat’s teeth regularly with a soft bristled toothbrush and pet-safe toothpaste is the most effective way to remove plaque and tartar. Start slow with just a few teeth and work up to brushing the whole mouth as your cat gets accustomed to it. Brush at least a few times per week if possible.

Getting annual dental cleanings done by your veterinarian helps remove built-up tartar under the gumline that brushing can’t reach. Professional cleanings are the best way to thoroughly clean all the teeth and get under the gums.

Offering chew toys and treats can also help scrape plaque off teeth. Look for toys and treats formulated specifically for dental health. Avoid hard chew toys that could damage teeth.

Feeding a veterinary dental diet or dental treats helps reduce plaque and tartar. These diets are designed to mechanically clean teeth as your cat chews.

With proper home care and professional veterinary dental cleanings, your cat’s teeth can stay healthy and clean well into old age.

Teeth Issues

Common teeth issues in cats include periodontal disease, fractured teeth, and abscesses. Periodontal disease is inflammation and infection of the tissues surrounding the teeth and is the most common dental disease in cats [1]. It is caused by plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth. As plaque and tartar accumulate, it leads to receding gums, destruction of periodontal ligament and bone, tooth mobility, and eventual tooth loss if left untreated. Symptoms of periodontal disease include bad breath, bleeding gums, drooling, and difficulty eating.

Cats can also suffer fractured teeth, usually due to trauma from a fall or fight. The pulp cavity can become exposed, allowing bacteria to infect the root canal. This leads to an abscess at the root of the tooth [2]. Signs of a tooth fracture include sudden refusal to eat, swelling of the face, discharge from the nose, and extreme sensitivity to touch around the affected area.

Abscesses occur when a pocket of pus forms in the mouth. This is often caused by untreated dental infections from periodontal disease, tooth fractures, or injuries. Abscesses are very painful and can lead to tissue and bone destruction in the mouth. Symptoms include swelling of the face, drooling, difficulty eating and lethargy.



Signs of Dental Problems

Dental disease is common in cats, with over 70% of cats aged 3 years and older affected. Cat owners should watch for the following signs of dental problems in their pets (VCA Animal Hospitals):

  • Bad breath – An obvious sign of dental disease is foul-smelling breath.
  • Discolored teeth – Yellow or brown buildup on the teeth indicates the presence of tartar, plaque, and bacteria.
  • Swollen gums – Red, inflamed gums that bleed easily signal gingivitis or gum disease.
  • Drooling – Excessive drooling can occur with painful mouth ulcers, tumors, or tooth abscesses.
  • Not eating – refusal to eat may indicate oral discomfort or difficulty chewing.

According to Cornell University, severe dental disease can lead to tooth loss, oral pain and infections. Veterinary exams help diagnose issues through physical inspection, dental X-rays and probing around the teeth and gums.

When to See a Vet

It is recommended that cats receive annual dental exams from their vet. This allows the vet to look for signs of problems and dental disease.

If a cat is showing any signs of dental issues or oral pain, such as bad breath, red and swollen gums, difficulty eating, drooling, or pawing at the mouth, they should be taken to see the vet right away for an exam (1). The vet can determine the cause of the problem and recommend appropriate treatment.

Cats should also see the vet immediately if there are any injuries to the teeth or mouth, such as from a fall or fight. Fractured teeth or cuts in the mouth can become severely infected and require prompt veterinary attention.

Regular dental exams and addressing any signs of problems quickly are key to keeping a cat’s teeth and gums healthy.


Like humans, cats have two sets of teeth during their lifetimes. Kittens have around 26 deciduous or “milk” teeth that eventually fall out. These are replaced by 30 permanent adult teeth as they grow. Proper dental care is important for cats to maintain healthy teeth and gums throughout their lives.

Cats can develop a number of dental issues like periodontal disease, broken teeth, and abscesses. It’s important for cat owners to monitor their cat’s teeth and mouth for any signs of problems. Symptoms like bad breath, trouble eating, swelling or bleeding from the mouth indicate a vet visit is needed. With proper preventative care and treatment when necessary, cats can keep their teeth healthy into their senior years.

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