Herbs may be helpful in treating cats with tooth problems.
According to Martin Zucker, author of “The Veterinarian’s Guide to Natural Remedies For Cats,” nearly half of all cats over the age of three have at least one dental disorder. As much as 85 percent of cats with dental problems also have gum issues. Periodontal disease, a severe gum disease, is associated with tooth problems such as loose teeth and susceptibility to infections. Purebreds, particularly Abyssinians and Persians, seem to be especially vulnerable. However, good hygiene and certain herbs may help control these conditions.
Herbs Work Best With Good Oral Hygiene
Herbs work best if good oral hygienic practices are also in place for the cat. This includes cleaning the animal’s teeth at home, as well as periodic veterinary treatments. Breeds that are particularly vulnerable may need more attention. Proper dental care can extend a cat’s life by as much as 20 percent, claims Zucker.
Clove is an excellent temporary pain reliever for tooth problems. If your feline friend is in noticeable pain, apply ground cloves directly to the affected area until you can get to a vet.
Herbs With Vitamin C
In humans, a predisposition to periodontal disease is associated with low levels of vitamin C, and it is believed true for cats, as well. This vitamin decreases pain, fortifies the immune system, and helps build the connective tissues and ligaments holding teeth in the gums. Vitamin C is believed to be particularly beneficial when taken with coenzyme Q10 supplements.
Herbs with vitamin C content include alfalfa, coltsfoot, hibiscus, chickweed, oat straw, dandelion, mint, comfrey, violets, ground ivy, parsley, and wild strawberry leaves. Ascorbate crystals can also be mixed in the food.
A diluted tincture of calendula directly applied to the gums or used to brush the cat’s teeth is also helpful. Zucker recommends putting 6 drops of a calendula tincture (found in most homeopathic, herb, or health food stores) into 1 ounce of distilled water. If you can, brush the cat’s teeth daily with this. However, if there is inflammation, brushing may exacerbate it; in this case, apply the mixture to a cotton swab and dab the cat’s inner and outer gums.
Echinacea and Goldenseal
A combination of quality echinacea and goldenseal can help reduce inflammation caused by tooth and gum problems. Zucker recommends soaking the end of a cotton swab with a tincture of the two herbs and rubbing the cat’s gum line once a day. If the inflammation is severe, do it twice a day. It will help combat infections and make your feline friend more comfortable.