Amazing Teeth in the Animal Kingdom

At the Yuba City Dentistry Group, we pride ourselves in our knowledge of teeth and how to take care of them. We constantly seek out the best methods to maintain and improve your smile with new dental techniques, emergent technologies like VEL Scope, and new procedures like the Pinhole Surgical Technique (PST). During that dental search, we often come across facts that make your eyes widen or your mouth open — which comes in handy during routine checkups. So, here are some animals with teeth characteristics that are truly amazing!

Elephants — An elephant’s molars can weigh up to twelve pounds each! They constantly grind them down with their diet, and some elephants grow replacements — up to five for one molar! Their tusks are also teeth (incisors, to be exact) and can weigh over four hundred pounds.

Beavers — Have you ever looked in the mirror and seen yourself smiling back with orange teeth? If so, it’s not normal, and please contact the Yuba City Dentistry Group for assistance. For beavers, however, getting orange teeth over time is natural due to the iron in the food they eat. (Who knew wood contained so much of this essential element?) The iron makes their ever-growing teeth harder, helping them chew through trees.

Narwhals — These arctic whales have a spiraled “horn” protruding from their head, so they are often called the “unicorns of the sea.” In fact, the horn is really one of their canines growing out from the upper lip. The tusk’s purpose is still being researched, but reports indicate they use it to stun fish, making them easier to eat. Their tusks also contain millions of nerve endings. Let’s hope they never get a cavity. Ouch!

Dolphins and Porpoises — These mammals are related, but different in a distinctively dental way. That’s because you can tell the difference between them by the shape of their teeth. Porpoises have spade-shaped teeth, while dolphins have cone-shaped teeth. Orcas, or killer “whales,” also have cone shaped teeth — which makes sense because they are part of the dolphin family.

Great White Sharks — Instead of having only 30 teeth or so, imagine having 100 times as many! Great white sharks have about 3000 teeth in multiple rows. A lost tooth is replaced by the one behind it sliding into place, so they always have a full set of forward teeth. They grow teeth more often than elephants, sometimes going through 20,000 teeth in a lifetime.

Payara — Nicknamed the “Vampire Fish,” Amazonian payara have two large 6-inch fangs that grow from their lower jaw. The fangs are so long that the fish’s head has special holes that the fangs fit into when their mouth is closed, like sheathing a pair of swords.

Babirusa — This Indonesian animal is a saber-toothed pig, with canine teeth that grow up to 8 inches long, often curling backwards.

Unlike many animals, humans naturally replace their teeth only once. Any further need can be met with dental implants, bridges, or other options offered by the Yuba City Dentistry Group. Even so, animals are amazing, and we love to learn about different variations in teeth and how all creatures use them. Do you know of any animals with amazing teeth that isn’t on our list? Feel free to comment below, give us a call, or tell us about it at your next checkup.

Apr 25, 2019 | Dental Facts


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