We spend so much time thinking about our own teeth — but what about other animals? Dr. Darian Hampton, who practices cosmetic dentistry in North Dallas, has compiled a few fun facts about the dental health of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and more.
Man’s Best Friend
Dogs very rarely get cavities because their saliva has a high pH level, which prevents demineralization. However, they are at risk of gum disease, which is why your vet encourages you to brush your dog’s teeth regularly. In fact, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 85 percent of dogs over the age of five suffer from gum disease.
Do You Think They Have TMJ Problems?
Beavers’, gophers’, hamsters’, rats’ and mice’s teeth continually grow throughout their lives, and they must grind their teeth to control their length. In fact, gophers’ teeth can grow up to 15 inches per year.
Elephants don’t chew their food; rather, they grind down about 100 pounds of vegetation daily. Elephants actually cycle through six sets of chewing teeth, and the new teeth grow in the back of the mouth and move forward to push out the old, worn teeth.
Creatures of the Deep Blue Sea
The largest mammals on earth, blue whales, have no teeth and can only eat tiny shrimp.
Sharks lose teeth every week. They can have more than 20,000 teeth over their lifetime.
Dolphins can have over 200 teeth; however, they don’t use their teeth to chew. Because they don’t have any jaw muscles, they can only use their teeth to grab things.
Other Fun Facts
Carnivores (animals that eat meat) have sharp teeth. Herbivores (animals that eat plants) have flat teeth. Animals that eat both meat and plants (like humans!) have sharp teeth in front of the mouth and flat teeth in the back.
The Tyrannosaurus Rex had more than 60 thick teeth, up to nine inches in length. Its jaws measured up to four feet long.
Snails have more than 25,000 teeth in an odd location — the tongue!
Snowshoe rabbits use their teeth to fight (the males fight over the females).
Which animal has the same number of teeth as humans? The answer may surprise you: giraffes!
Contact Our North Dallas Dentist
Humans may not be able to regenerate teeth like sharks can do, but we have superior dentistry solutions like dental bridges and implants. If you have lost a tooth and are exploring possible replacements options, or you would simply like to enjoy a more beautiful smile, please contact Dr. Hampton to discuss your options. Call 972-695-4594 or send an email.