Teeth come in all shapes and sizes, even in the animal kingdom!

Many animals have teeth, but not all animals have teeth like you! Throughout the animal kingdom, animals use their teeth for eating but also for defense and for other things. One thing that all animals have in common, though, is that they need to keep their teeth clean and healthy – just like you!  Here are some interesting facts about animal teeth.

Sharks are constantly losing their teeth.

Sharks have big scary-looking teeth, but did you know that those teeth are always falling out? It’s true! Shark teeth don’t have roots to hold them in place in the shark’s mouth. So they fall out quite often when the shark is eating. In fact, sometimes sharks lose a tooth every week. But those teeth grow back again pretty quickly. Over the course of its life, one single shark may grow as many as 20,000 teeth!

 A bird’s beak acts like teeth.

Birds don’t really have teeth, at least not the way that people do. However, some birds have little notches on their beaks that have sharp points, and those work like teeth. They rip up food into small pieces so that birds can eat more easily. And they help birds defend themselves from predators. Baby birds are born with a small tooth on the outside of their beaks. They use that tooth to break through the shell when they are hatched. Then the tooth falls off because they don’t need it anymore.

Your dog’s teeth are similar to your teeth.

Your dog’s teeth aren’t shaped like your teeth but your dog’s teeth are made up of the same three layers that your teeth have. Dog’s teeth have an outer hard shell of enamel that covers a layer of dentin, and under that a layer of pulp exactly like your own teeth do! And just like you will lose your baby teeth and get adult teeth as you grow up, puppies lose their baby teeth when they are about four months old and get adult teeth.

Cats can get cavities.

Did you know that your cat can get cavities? It’s true! When you get a cavity, it starts when bacteria attacks the hard enamel layer of your tooth. When your cat gets a cavity, it starts below their gum line and attacks the tooth from the gumline. The vet can clean your cat’s teeth to prevent cavities the same way that the hygienist cleans your teeth to prevent cavities. That’s why it’s really important to make sure that your cat gets regular dental cleanings just like you get!

Alligators can have up to 3,000 teeth throughout their lives.

Alligator teeth look big and scary but they’re not actually very sharp. So in order to chew their food alligators have to bite down really hard. This can cause their teeth to break. Because they break so many teeth and grow new ones to replace them, alligators can grow up to 3,000 teeth during their lives.

Cows chew for eight hours a day.

If you have seen a cow in a pasture it was probably chewing. Have you wondered why cows chew so much? It’s because cows have no upper teeth, only bottom teeth. When they chew food, they grind it against the roof of their mouth with their bottom teeth. It takes a long time to chew that way, which is why cows can chew for up to eight hours a day. Chewing is like their full-time job!

You can tell how old a dolphin is by its teeth.

Have you ever looked at the rings of the tree to see how old it is? To tell how old a dolphin is you need to look at its teeth. Dolphins get rings on their teeth each year so you can tell how old a dolphin is by the rings that it has on its teeth.

Snails have more teeth than any other animal.

Who could have guessed that one of the smallest animals has more teeth than a giant tiger or any other animal? Tiny snails have up to 14,000 teeth depending on their size. Imagine how long it must take them to brush every day!

Bear teeth aren’t that sharp.

Bears are ferocious but their teeth really aren’t that sharp. And they’re kind of stubby, just a few inches long. But bears can tear apart their food because they have super strong jaws that they use to bite down really hard on things. The power of the bear’s bite comes from its jaw, not its teeth.

Elephant tusks are really teeth.

Did you know that elephants’ long tusks are actually teeth? Well, they’re a type of tooth. They’re made of the same material as teeth, but elephants use their tusks more for defending themselves than for eating.

Keeping Teeth Clean And Healthy

Just like these animals, kids also need to make sure that their teeth are clean by brushing daily and seeing the dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. If it’s time for your little animals to get a cleaning or a checkup call us at Metro East Dental Care today to set up an appointment.