Cat Teeth

As predators, cats have very sharp teeth, which helps them to catch prey as well as tear and chew their food effectively. Cats’ teeth are also used for grooming and maintaining their fur, as they use their teeth to remove loose fur and tangles while they groom themselves.

How many teeth do cats have?

Adults cats have a total of 30 teeth: 12 incisors, 4 canines, and 10 premolars and 4 molars.

The upper jaw (the maxillary arcade) of the cat has 6 incisors, 2 canines, 6 premolars, and 2 molars. The front premolar located on the maxillary arcade is tiny compared to the other two upper premolars. The lower jaw of the cat has 6 incisors, 2 canines, 4 premolars, and 2 molars.

The incisors are the teeny tiny teeth that are found at the very front of the mouth and are used for biting and tearing food. The canines, also called fangs, are longer and pointed and are used for holding and killing prey.

The premolars are located behind the canines and are used for chewing food.

Cats also have molars, but these are not visible as they are located at the back of the mouth.

None of the teeth of a cat have grinding surfaces as the domestic cat’s diet evolved to be almost entirely meat-based. Fun fact: the mountain lion has the same dental formula as house cats.

A black and white cat with its mouth wide open and arrows labeling each type of arrow.
Cats have four types of teeth: incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. Diagram: Caitlin Dempsey, Photo: © 1stGallery/

When do kittens first grow teeth?

Kittens are born without teeth and start to get their baby teeth, or deciduous teeth, at around 3 to 4 weeks of age. Kittens have a total of 26 baby teeth, which include 12 incisors, 4 canines, and 10 premolars.

As they grow and mature, kittens will start to lose their baby teeth and will get their adult teeth. Kittens start to get their adult teeth at around 3 to 4 months of age.

Cats will have a full set of adult teeth by the time they are about 7 months old.

What are the tiny teeth in the front of a cat’s mouth for?

The tiny teeth located at the front of a cat’s mouth are called incisors.

Incisors are located at the front of the mouth and are the smallest and most forward-facing teeth. They are flat and blade-like and are used for cutting and biting off small pieces of food.

Cats have a total of 12 incisors, six on the top and six on the bottom.

Incisors are also used for grooming, as cats use these teeth to remove loose fur and tangles while they groom themselves.

Premolars on a cat

Premolars are teeth located behind the canines in a cat’s mouth. Cats have a total of 14 premolars, seven on the top and seven on the bottom.

Premolars are used for chewing and grinding food. They have a flat, blade-like shape and are used to cut and grind food into smaller pieces.

Taking care of your cat’s teeth

Cats’ teeth can accumulate plaque and tartar just like human teeth, so it is important to brush their teeth regularly to maintain good oral hygiene.

Cats can develop dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss if not treated. It is important to take your cat to the vet for regular check-ups to ensure their teeth and gums are healthy.

Cats’ teeth are very strong and are designed to last for their entire lives, but they may need to have teeth removed or treated for dental problems as they age.

Can cats get cavities?

While cats don’t get cavities like humans do, cats can develop holes in their teeth. This condition is known as feline tooth resorption where the tooth gets broken down. This condition affects about 40% of adult cats and is caused not by bacteria but by process within the cat’s body where holes develop in the cat’s teeth.

It’s important to have your cat’s teeth checked annually by a vet and to regularly brush your cat’s teeth to keep them as healthy as possible.


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