Did you know that animals actually have amazing teeth? We wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t because when was the last time you saw a monkey brush their teeth? Never!
While animal teeth and human teeth aren’t exactly the same, they have a lot of similarities. In fact, dentists have studied animal teeth to discover new information about our own teeth and ways to make them healthier and stronger.
Animal Teeth vs. Human Teeth
We’re sure you’ve noticed that a cat’s teeth are very different from a hippo’s teeth, similar to how a lion’s teeth are different from a giraffe’s teeth. But why do animal teeth differ from animal to animal, yet there is only one kind of teeth for humans?
There are many reasons why animals all have different teeth, but the first is because there are different types of animals: mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish. We can then break it down even further into the different classifications of animals: herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores. Because the basic concept of teeth is to break down food for consumption, the teeth that an animal has will have something to do with what it is meant to eat.
An animal that eats other animals will need stronger and larger teeth than an animal that eats plants. And since there are multiple different species of animals, there are multiple kinds of teeth. Humans are one single species, therefore our teeth structure is all the same.
There are also other interesting differences between animal and human teeth.
- While humans get 2 sets of teeth in our lifetime, other animals like dolphins only get one, and sharks can grow multiple sets throughout their lifetime.
- Humans have 32 teeth in a set, but animals have so much more than that. Teeth in animals can range from 44 to 25,000! Yup, our snail friends can have up to 25,000 teeth… who knew they even had any?
- Humans use teeth to break down food for consumption and while animals also do this, they need teeth for other things too. Animals need teeth for hunting, attacking, and defending.
Fun facts about the teeth of our nature friends
Animal teeth are weird for sure, but they’re also so amazing and interesting. Check out these five fun facts about animal teeth.
- You can actually determine the age of a dolphin by their teeth. Nature is pretty amazing and similar to how the rings on a tree can reveal the age of it, there are also rings on the teeth of dolphins to do the same!
- Have you ever seen a giraffe smile? Probably not, but if you’ve ever been to the zoo you’ve likely seen them chowing down some grass – and don’t they look a bit funny when they do it? This is because giraffes are missing their upper front teeth. Giraffes have 32 teeth like humans, but almost all of them are in the back of their mouths.
- Hippos have the longest teeth out of every canine animal!
- Animals don’t really get cavities because their diets don’t consist of any sugar.
- Even though blue whales are the largest animal in the world, they don’t have a single tooth in their mouth! They have bristle-like filters that mimic teeth and work to comb through the water for food.
Next time you visit your dentist, (perhaps at our very own office at 61 Amherst St, Nashua, NH), ask them about what they know about animal teeth. Some dentists can talk your ear off about the amazing, fascinating teeth of animals!