How Is Oral Health Connected to Your Cat’s Gut and Overall Health?

Your cat’s bad breath could be caused by bacterial imbalances either in the mouth or in the gut. Oral health and gut health are closely connected: in fact, it’s a two-way street.

Inflamed gums, tooth decay, bad breath, and other oral problems can affect your cat’s health far beyond their mouth. When your cat’s mouth contains too many harmful bacteria, the saliva that gets swallowed carries those bacteria to the gut, where they can multiply and disturb the balance in the gut microbiome. 

Problems in the gut can lead to problems in your cat’s mouth too. For example, when your cat’s gut contains too many harmful bacteria, the smelly gas those bacteria produce gets absorbed into the bloodstream and is eventually exhaled as bad breath. 

An imbalanced gut microbiome and oral health problems both lead to excessive inflammation in the body. When the body is in an inflamed state, it makes other areas more susceptible to inflammation as well. In this way, an imbalanced gut can affect oral health and inflammation or infections in the mouth can affect gut health. 

So what is a microbiome? It’s a community of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes that live in your cat’s body and are essential for their overall health. The gut microbiome is located in the intestinal tract and the oral microbiome is found in your cat’s mouth.

How Does a Cat’s Mouth or Gut Become Imbalanced?

A microbiome is considered imbalanced when it’s missing “good” bacteria, contains too many harmful bacteria, or doesn’t have enough diversity. Factors like disease, age, diet, and medications (especially antibiotics!) can cause bacterial imbalances in your cat’s mouth or gut.

Missing Good Bacteria

Too Many Harmful Bacteria

Not Enough Diversity

How Can You Know What’s Going On in Your Cat’s Mouth and Gut?

We recommend testing your cat’s oral microbiome with our at-home KittyBiome™ Oral Health Test.

This easy test assesses the health of your cat’s mouth, revealing any bacterial imbalances that can cause bad breath, gum disease, tooth loss, or other issues. You send us a swab of your cat’s gums, and we analyze the bacteria on it. You’ll receive a detailed, personalized report with actionable insights to help you improve your cat’s oral health. Our before and after oral tests can help you evaluate the effectiveness of oral health interventions, such as tooth brushing, oral prebiotics, and dental cleanings.

We recommend testing your cat’s gut microbiome with our at-home KittyBiome™ Gut Health Test.

Gut microbiome testing can give you a detailed understanding of what’s going on in your cat’s gut, revealing any imbalances that may be causing their bad breath or other oral symptoms. 

You send us a small poop sample from your cat, and we do the rest. Using DNA sequencing, our scientists analyze the types of bacteria in your cat’s poop and compare them to our healthy cat reference set to determine if an imbalance is present. We then provide an interactive online report of your cat’s gut microbiome with personalized diet and supplement recommendations to help relieve symptoms and improve your cat’s digestive, oral, and overall health.

How Can You Restore Your Cat and Relieve Their Symptoms?

For cats with moderate to severe gut microbiome imbalances, we recommend our KittyBiome™ Gut Restore Supplement.

The supplement introduces an entire community of beneficial cat-specific bacteria to add diversity and bring balance to the gut. Our Gut Restore Supplement is a fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) in an oral capsule. FMT has been shown to improve a wide range of symptoms in cats with gut microbiome imbalances. Replenishing any missing bacterial populations can often resolve symptoms quickly by restoring a healthy balance to your cat’s gut. If possible, we still recommend testing your cat’s gut microbiome with a Gut Health Test.

For occasional or mild bad breath and daily gut health support, we recommend our KittyBiome™ S. boulardii + FOS Powder.

This probiotic and prebiotic supplement is designed to support healthy gut function by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria. It contains the probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii, which helps rebalance the gut and has anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), a prebiotic that promotes gut health and immune function by feeding “good” gut bacteria.

For cats with harmful levels of E. coli in the mouth (when identified by a KittyBiome™ Oral Health Test), we recommend our KittyBiome™ Oral Cleanse Powder.

This prebiotic bacteriophage formula is formulated with two active ingredients: PreforPro (a prebiotic bacteriophage) and organic Icelandic Kelp. PreforPro reduces high levels of Escherichia (E. coli) bacteria, which can contribute to oral health problems like bad breath and gum disease. Icelandic Kelp reduces plaque and prevents the formation of tartar.

Prior to using the supplement, we recommend testing your cat’s oral microbiome with a KittyBiome Oral Health Test.

Health Tip

Taking care of your cat’s oral microbiome with good oral and dental hygiene practices is the first line of defense for preventing oral health problems.

Feeding a healthy, balanced diet is the best way to manage your cat’s gut microbiome. If you’ve taken our Oral Health Test or Gut Health Test, follow the diet recommendations in your cat’s personalized report to support the growth of beneficial bacteria. 

Since the gut microbiome is an ever-changing ecosystem that is impacted by multiple factors, including diet and medications, we suggest re-testing your cat’s gut health annually or anytime symptoms arise. A well-balanced gut microbiome will help your cat live a healthier, happier life.

Learn More About Oral Health for Cats