What Age Do Cats Lose Teeth

When Kittens Start Teething

Kittens start getting their baby teeth around 3-4 weeks old. As noted by Mountainaire Animal Clinic, the first set of teeth usually erupt when a kitten is around 3 or 4 weeks old. Hill’s Pet Nutrition also states that kittens’ deciduous teeth first break through the gums at about 3 to 4 weeks of age.

By 6-8 weeks of age, kittens have a full set of 26 deciduous or “milk” teeth. Zoetis Petcare says the full set of baby teeth is typically in by 8 weeks old. So within the first 2 months of a kitten’s life, they will have a mouth full of sharp little teeth.

Kittens Lose Their Deciduous Teeth

Kittens begin losing their baby teeth, also known as milk or deciduous teeth, around 3-4 months old. This process is part of normal development, similar to when human babies lose their baby teeth. According to the ASPCA, kittens have around 26 baby teeth that begin to fall out as the permanent adult teeth start pushing through the gums[1]. As the new permanent teeth erupt, the roots of the baby teeth dissolve until they become loose and fall out.

The process of shedding baby teeth and growing permanent teeth continues until the kitten is around 6-7 months old. By this time, all of the baby teeth should have fallen out. Most kittens will have a full set of 30 adult teeth by the time they reach 6 months old, although some larger breed cats may take slightly longer to complete the teething process[2]. While teething can be uncomfortable for kittens, it is a natural part of their development.

[1] https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/kitten-care
[2] https://www.hillspet.com/cat-care/behavior-appearance/kitten-teething

Adult Cats Have 30 Permanent Teeth

Adult cats have 30 permanent teeth. These include:

  • 12 incisors
  • 4 canines
  • 10 premolars
  • 4 first molars

According to Purina, adult cats have molars while kittens do not. The 30 permanent teeth replace the 26 deciduous or “milk” teeth that kittens have.

When Adult Cats Lose Teeth

Adult cats can start losing teeth as early as 3 years old. According to the Willowbrook Veterinary Clinic, wear and gum disease are more common when cats are between the ages of 5 and 10 years old[1]. As cats continue to age, they become more prone to dental issues like gingivitis, abscesses, and tooth loss. Permanent teeth may eventually fall out due to decay or advanced periodontal disease

Older cats, especially those over 10 years old, are at an increased risk for developing dental diseases. According to PetMD, their teeth become worn and brittle over time, making them more likely to fracture or fall out[2]. The bacteria in a cat’s mouth also tends to change as they age, increasing plaque buildup and causing more severe gum inflammation. All of these age-related changes can lead to advanced dental disease and tooth loss if preventative dental care is not provided.

Signs of Tooth Loss in Cats

There are several signs that may indicate your cat is losing teeth or experiencing dental issues:

– Bad breath, drooling, difficulty eating – These can signal dental disease, infections, or injuries causing tooth loss.

– Swollen or bleeding gums, loose teeth – Inflammation and loose teeth can occur with gingivitis, resorptive lesions, or periodontal disease.

– Change in eating habits, weight loss – Your cat may start eating less or only soft foods if they have painful or missing teeth.[1]

Significant changes like a decreased appetite, difficulty chewing, or weight loss warrant a veterinary exam. The earlier dental issues are addressed, the better the outcome for your cat.

Causes of Tooth Loss in Cats

There are several potential causes of tooth loss in cats:

Periodontal Disease

One of the most common causes of tooth loss in cats is periodontal disease. This occurs when plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth, leading to inflammation and infection of the gums and tooth roots. If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause teeth to become loose and eventually fall out. Regular dental cleanings and brushing can help prevent periodontal disease in cats.



Cats can also lose teeth due to injuries. Getting hit by a car, falling, or biting down on something too hard can all result in broken, damaged, or lost teeth. Seeking prompt veterinary treatment is important for injured teeth.

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions like kidney disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, cancer, FIV, and feline leukemia can also lead to tooth loss in cats. These diseases impair the body’s ability to properly maintain the teeth and heal from routine wear and tear.


No matter the cause, tooth loss can negatively impact a cat’s quality of life. Preventing dental disease through regular dental care, treating underlying medical conditions, and avoiding injuries can help cats retain their teeth as long as possible.

Effects of Tooth Loss on Cats

Tooth loss can have several negative effects on cats. Some of the main effects include:

Pain (1) – Missing teeth can expose sensitive tooth roots and cause significant pain and discomfort in cats’ mouths. The pain may worsen when eating or drinking.

Difficulty Eating (2) – Cats use their teeth to grasp, chew and break down food. With missing teeth, cats may have trouble picking up food, chewing properly and breaking down large pieces. This can make mealtimes challenging.

Weight Loss (3) – The inability to chew and eat properly can lead to reduced appetite and weight loss. This may result in malnutrition if the cat is not getting adequate nutrition.

Behavior Changes (1) – Dental pain and discomfort may cause personality changes such as irritability, aggression, restlessness, hiding more, or vocalizing/meowing more.

Other Health Issues (1),(2) – Tooth loss can allow bacteria to enter the body and spread infection. It may also affect the alignment of remaining teeth. This can cause problems like gum disease, tooth decay, and jaw bone loss over time.

Therefore, it’s important for cat owners to promptly address any tooth loss in cats and seek veterinary care. Treating the underlying condition and managing pain and eating difficulties is key to a cat’s health and wellbeing.

Preventing Tooth Loss in Cats

There are several ways pet owners can help prevent tooth loss in cats:

Get regular veterinary dental cleanings and exams. Veterinarians can scale tartar from the teeth and evaluate the overall health of the mouth. Professional cleanings every 6-12 months can dramatically reduce plaque buildup and prevent dental disease (https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/dental-disease-in-cats).

Brush your cat’s teeth daily. Daily toothbrushing at home helps remove plaque before it turns into tartar. Use a soft bristled brush and cat-safe toothpaste. Work up slowly to brushing the entire mouth as your cat gets accustomed to the process (https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/feline-dental-disease).

Feed dental treats and foods. Some dental diets and treats are designed to mechanically scrub the teeth. Consult with your veterinarian on recommended products.

Treat underlying illnesses. Dental disease may be a sign of illnesses like kidney disease, diabetes, or cancer. Getting these conditions under control can improve feline dental health.

Treating Tooth Loss in Cats

If your cat is suffering from damaged or infected teeth, the most common and effective treatment is tooth extraction. According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, “To treat feline periodontitis, your veterinarian will recommend removing plaque and mineral buildup by scaling and polishing the teeth while trying to preserve the teeth and remove sources of pain and infection.”

Extraction fully removes the problem tooth and can provide rapid relief. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to treat any infection resulting from tooth loss. It’s important to carefully follow dosage instructions.

After extractions, your vet will likely recommend switching your cat to canned or wet food, which is easier to eat. Dry kibble can be painful on sore gums and tooth sockets.

For missing front teeth or canines, implants and dental bridges can be options to restore chewing function and appearance. However, these are often costly and require general anesthesia. Success rates vary. Wellpets notes “Dental implants are still considered experimental in cats.” Make sure to discuss pros, cons, costs and risks with your vet.

With supportive care from you and treatment from the vet, many cats can adapt and thrive after losing multiple teeth. Be patient during your cat’s transition to a toothless diet.

Caring for Cats with Missing Teeth

Caring for a cat that has lost some or all of its teeth requires paying close attention to its health and making adjustments to its diet and oral care routine. Even though cats can function without teeth, tooth loss can lead to other issues if not properly managed.

It’s important to monitor your cat’s weight and nutrition if it is missing teeth. Since chewing may be difficult, provide wet, canned food or soak dry kibble in water to soften it. Avoid large chunks of food that require extensive chewing. Make sure your cat is getting adequate nutrition from the softened food. If your cat loses significant weight, speak to your vet about adding nutritional supplements.

Continue to gently brush your cat’s remaining teeth daily, if possible, according to WellPets. Brushing helps prevent tartar buildup and infection in the open tooth sockets where teeth are missing. Use a soft-bristled brush and cat-safe toothpaste.

It’s also important to schedule regular veterinary checkups every 6-12 months if your cat has missing teeth. The vet can identify any oral health issues and recommend treatment options. Routine visits are key to maintaining your cat’s quality of life.

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