What Should 1 Year Old Cat Teeth Look Like?

Typical Teething Timeline for Kittens

Kittens are born without any teeth. They start getting their baby teeth (also called milk teeth or deciduous teeth) around 3-4 weeks of age. The incisors are usually the first teeth to erupt. By around 8 weeks old, kittens have a full set of 26 baby teeth.

As the permanent adult teeth start coming in, the baby teeth fall out. This stage is known as teething. The baby canine teeth are usually the first to fall out around 12-16 weeks of age. By 5-6 months old, the permanent canines, premolars, and molars have replaced most of the baby teeth.

By around 6 months of age, kittens have their full set of 30 adult teeth. The entire teething process is generally complete by 9 months old [1]


Appearance of 1 Year Old Cat Teeth

By one year old, cats should have their full set of 30 permanent adult teeth. Their baby teeth will have fallen out and been replaced by permanent teeth as part of the natural teething process [1].

At 1 year old, a cat’s teeth should be clean, white, and free of any plaque or tartar buildup. Their teeth may still have a very slight yellow tint from the enamel, but they should not be discolored or brown [2]. The teeth should be arranged neatly in the mouth with no gaps from missing teeth.

The full set of adult teeth includes:

  • 12 incisors on the top and bottom jaws for grasping food
  • 4 pointed canine teeth for piercing food
  • 10 premolars for cutting and shearing
  • 4 molars for grinding food

At one year old, all of these teeth should be present and in good condition. Any retained baby teeth or other dental issues are abnormal at this age and warrant a veterinary visit.


By one year old, kittens should have their full set of six small incisor teeth on both the top and bottom of their mouth (1). Incisors are the small, sharp teeth located along the front of a cat’s mouth, between the large canine teeth. They are primarily used for grooming, nibbling, and scraping meat from bones (2). The incisors should present as small, thin teeth that meet together to form a precise bite.

(1) http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/pregastric/catpage.html

(2) https://www.petmd.com/cat/care/9-interesting-facts-about-cat-teeth


By around 5 months of age, cats should have 4 fully erupted canine teeth – 2 in the upper jaw and 2 in the lower jaw. These pointed teeth are located between the incisors and premolars and are easily identifiable as the “fangs.” As this article explains, canines serve an important purpose in cats – they are used for grasping and killing prey. The upper canines are generally longer and more pointed than the lower canines. Both sets of canines help cats seize prey and deliver a fatal bite.


By one year old, cats should have their adult premolars. They will have a total of six premolars in the upper jaw and four premolars in the lower jaw [1]. The premolars are located just behind the canine teeth and are sharp with serrated edges to help grip, hold, and tear food [2].

In the upper jaw, there should be two premolars on each side behind the canine teeth. The lower jaw will have two premolars on each side as well. The premolars work with the canines and carnassial teeth to help cats tear meat off bones and grip food while chewing.


Cats should have 4 molars on the top of their mouth and 6 molars on the bottom by the time they are 1 year old. The molars are the large, flattened teeth at the back of a cat’s mouth, both on the upper and lower jaw. They are used primarily for chewing and grinding food as part of the digestion process. The molars help the cat break down tough foods and release nutrients.

The molars do not come in all at once. Kittens are born without any teeth at all. The first molars start coming in around 4 weeks of age. By 6 months old, most of the permanent molars have emerged, though the last molars may still be coming in around 9-12 months. Since molars emerge and descend at different times, it’s normal for molars to appear uneven until the kitten is about 1 year old.

By 1 year old, the full set of adult molars should be present. These teeth are broad and flat, designed for grinding and crushing. The molars do not come to a point. Instead, they have a wide oval surface that allows cats to chew and break down food.

If an adult cat is missing molars or has uneven wear, this can interfere with eating and cause dental problems. It’s important to monitor your cat’s molars and watch for any issues that could indicate disease or infection.

Taking Care of Teeth

Proper dental care is crucial for cats to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Here are some tips for taking care of your cat’s teeth at home:

Brush teeth regularly with vet-approved toothpaste. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush designed for cats and brush in gentle circular motions. Focus on the outer surfaces of the teeth. Start slowly and work up to daily brushing.

Provide dental treats and chews. Look for treats formulated to reduce plaque and tartar buildup. Offering chew toys also encourages chewing which scrapes away tartar. Avoid hard chews that could damage teeth.

Feed crunchy kibble to help clean teeth. The abrasive texture of dry food helps scrape away plaque as your cat chews. Choose kibble specifically formulated for dental health.

Signs of Dental Problems

There are several signs that may indicate your cat is suffering from dental disease or other oral health issues. Some of the most common signs to look out for include:

Yellow/brown buildup on teeth. This tartar buildup is a sign of poor oral hygiene and can lead to infection and tooth decay if not removed.1

Red, swollen, or bleeding gums. Inflamed gums, known as gingivitis, often signal dental disease. The gums may look puffy and bleed easily when touched or brushed.2

Bad breath. Foul breath is a very common symptom of feline dental disease. An infected mouth leads to terrible odors emanating when the cat yawns or breathes.3

Difficulty eating. Your cat may show signs of discomfort or pain when eating if they have problems with their teeth and mouth. They may chew in an abnormal manner or drop food from their mouth.2

When to See the Vet

If you notice dental problems or teeth abnormalities in your cat, it’s important to schedule a veterinary visit. Some signs to watch for include bad breath, broken or loose teeth, teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar, and reduced appetite or difficulty eating due to mouth pain [1]. Your vet can perform an oral exam, take x-rays if needed, and determine the best treatment plan which may involve tooth extraction, root canal therapy, or other procedures to address the dental disease.

In addition to prompt dental visits when problems arise, it’s recommended to bring your cat in for an annual dental checkup and cleaning. Preventative dental cleanings generally start around age 1 to 2 years for cats [2]. Your vet will scale and polish your cat’s teeth under anesthesia to remove tartar and plaque that can lead to infections, tooth decay, and other issues. Professional dental cleanings help keep your cat’s mouth healthy and teeth strong.

Preventing Dental Disease

The best way to prevent dental disease in cats is through regular dental care at home and professional cleanings. According to Cornell University, tooth brushing is the most effective method for removing plaque and preventing gingivitis (Feline Dental Disease). Brushing your cat’s teeth daily or several times per week can significantly reduce tartar buildup and keep their teeth and gums healthy.

Feeding dental food and treats is another way to combat plaque and tartar. Dental diets contain kibble designed to scrape teeth clean as your cat chews. Treats like Greenies have a unique texture and shape made to clean teeth and freshen breath. Just be sure to monitor your cat when giving any treat to prevent choking (Vetster).

You should also avoid feeding your cat sugary human foods that can lead to cavities. Stick to meat-based cat foods and dental treats (Plymouth Vet).

Finally, provide plenty of chew toys to satisfy your cat’s need to chew and keep their teeth clean. Look for textured rubber toys they can sink their teeth into.

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