Facts About Animal Teeth
Humans have their own set of issues with their two sets of teeth, but here are some mind-blowing facts about animal teeth that might surprise you…
Dolphins use their teeth primarily for catching their food. They don’t chew their food but swallow it whole. The most interesting thing about Dolphin teeth is that like trees they develop annual rings inside each tooth. A cross section of a dolphin tooth can tell you their age, just like counting tree rings. Dolphins only have one set of teeth; they are all permanent and grow as they age. Bottlenose dolphins have 72-104 teeth all of which are similar in shape and size.
Sharks have rows of teeth. When a shark tooth breaks off a new one simply moves forward to take its place. It’s common for sharks to lose teeth weekly. White sharks have up to 300 teeth at all times and because they constantly lose and replace them, in a lifetime they can have as many as 29,880 teeth. No need for a dentist.
Instead of teeth, blue whales have bristle-like filters called baleen. They use these to comb the ocean water for krill (tiny shrimp) which make up their whole diet. Blue whales are the largest mammals in the world but they don’t have teeth. A blue whale can eat up to four tonnes of krill every day.
Not all whales are toothless. A narwal is a toothed whale with an interesting twist. One of it’s canine teeth grows into a horn that can grow up to eight feet long. They use this unique tooth to “taste the water” around it. The narwal horn can detect trace chemicals in the water and it uses this information to hunt. Narwals live in the Arctic waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia.
Out of all the creatures on our life-filled planet, snails take the trophy for having the most teeth. It’s true, their teeth are very different from most animals, but they are teeth just the same. The “Limpet snail” spends its life under water, and has teeth that are the hardest known biological material on Earth! All snail teeth line the surface of their tongue in rows called radula. Some species of snails have over 20,000 teeth. You need not fear these teeth as even the largest snail radula found in the African Giant Snail (1 ft 3.5 in from snout to tail) is too small to break your skin.
Humans have something in common with Giraffes when it comes to teeth. We both have 32 of them. However, the way their teeth are positioned in their mouths are very different. Most giraffes’ teeth are found at the back of their mouth, and all are shaped like our molars as they use them to grind up leaves and twigs. To accommodate their twenty-inch-long tongue, giraffes have no upper front teeth. I guess they have that in common with hockey players.
Hippopotamuses have 36 teeth. They have the longest canine teeth of any animal often called tusks. Their tusks can grow up to three-feet long, and can bite right through a small boat. Hippos are know for their aggressive nature and have the teeth to back it up. Their bite is much worse than their bark.
Like us, horses can get gum disease and experience receding gums making their teeth appear to grow as they age. Another unique fact about horses is that they chew in a lateral circular motion. Some horses grow “Wolf teeth” This tooth is usually removed when the horse is still young as it serves no real purpose and can crowd other teeth later. They’re like wisdom teeth in humans.
Rodents (Rabbits & Squirrels)
Rodents have permanent teeth that never stop growing. If they didn’t spend long amounts of time wearing them down on nuts, leaves, and bark, they would become too long to be of practical use. People who have rodents as pets often have to give them dental treatment for overgrown teeth.
Did you know? Wild animals rarely get cavities because of their diet. Animals in the wild chew on things like tree bark and bone which helps keep their teeth clean. In addition, they are not exposed to surgery foods like domesticated pets.
What We Learn From Facts About Animal Teeth?
We can learn a lot from studying the teeth of different animals. The most important thing we have in common with different animals is that our teeth are valuable, even necessary for our survival. Our post today underscores the need to look after the teeth we have. Erbsville Dental is your partner in maintaining good oral health and preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Call today for an appointment. Erbsville Dental is currently accepting new clients.