Dental Trivia

A lion has carnassials instead of molars.

Learning Facts About All Kinds of Teeth

When you come to the Placerville Dental Group, we strive to provide professional dental care in a clean and welcoming environment. Good quality dental care makes a difference in the lives of our Placerville dental patients! But besides providing high quality dental care from routine dental exams and cleanings to complete dental reconstruction, we like to have fun too. So here are some interesting dental facts from the animal world that show how teeth are amazing! Scientists are also attempting to use information from the much stronger teeth of many animals to find ways to improve and protect the teeth of our dental patients.

Hair from boar, badgers, and horses were used years ago for toothbrush bristles, but were later found to be so abrasive that they damaged tooth enamel. This is why it’s important to use a soft bristle brush, so your dental care routine does more good than harm.

An elephant shows its tusk.

The tusks of an elephant are actually elongated incisors.

An African elephant’s tusks can weigh 465 pounds and are actually teeth. Elephant molars weigh up to 12 pounds each. Elephants grind down their molars and grow new ones up to six times during their lifespan.

Scientists count rings on a dolphin’s teeth to determine its age (similar to what we do with trees). Speaking of dolphins, the long-snouted spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) has as many as 252 teeth.

With its up to 18-inch-long teeth, a hippo can bite a small boat in half.

Lions have 30 teeth, including the four large and pointed canines. Instead of molars, lions have four teeth called carnassials that work like scissors for cutting food. The rest of their teeth are conical shaped. Lions don’t chew their food because their jaws can’t move from side to side.

Sharks may grow 20,000 teeth in a lifetime. A great white shark has several rows of jagged, triangular-shaped teeth – up to 3,000 at a time, measuring up to three inches long. When a tooth is broken or lost, a new one is ready to move forward so that the shark always has a full set of forward teeth.

The 70-ton sperm whale has 36 to 60 teeth, each about 8 inches long, all in its lower jaw. Although the distantly related blue whale is the largest mammal on earth, it has no teeth at all! It swallows clouds of tiny prey like shrimp and krill whole, trapping them with baleen, a substance much like our hair or fingernails.

Shark teeth are all similar, unlike human teeth.

A lemon shark illustrates the rows of teeth seen in this type of fish.

We hope you enjoyed learning these fascinating facts! Our teeth may last for life when well cared for. Brush and floss daily to prevent gum disease and dental cavities. Remember to keep your appointments with the Placerville Dental Group. Our local Placerville dentists are experienced professionals that provide the best care possible to all of our patients, just not their animals.

Placerville Dental Group
blog@placervilledentistry.com
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