210 Willow Street NW, Lenoir, NC 28645

Our Lenoir Pediatric Dentist Answers Popular Animal Teeth FAQs

At Rutherford Pediatric Dentistry, we spend most of our time thinking about human teeth, but that doesn’t mean we don’t think animal teeth aren’t pretty cool, too! Here are some trivia questions about animal teeth whose answers might surprise you.

What Animal Has the Most Teeth?

You might think the answer is a lion, a crocodile, or even a shark…but the title for “Most Teeth in the Animal Kingdom” goes to the humble snail. A garden snail has about 14,000 teeth, while other species can have over 20,000, all arranged in rows on its tongue. This unique adaptation helps snails eat just about anything and everything: they are herbivorous, carnivorous, omnivorous, and detritivorous (eating decaying waste from plants and other animals).

Which Animal Has the Longest Teeth?

Once again, you might picture the three-inch canines of a ferocious lion, or a cobra’s pointy fangs. But the longest teeth in the animal kingdom belong to the elephant, because their tusks are actually incisors that can grow up to 15 feet long. When you look at an elephant, you are only seeing 2/3rds of the whole tusk. The other third is not visible, because it is embedded in the elephant’s skull.

A strong runner-up is the narwhal, whose 8-foot horn is also considered a tooth! Narwhals use their horns to “taste” the water around them in order to find food.

Do Animals Get Cavities?

Have you ever wondered why, despite all the dental care you receive throughout life, it’s still possible for you to end up with cavities, while your pet (who has never been to a dentist), doesn’t seem to have a single tooth concern whatsoever? The answer has to do with diet. Most animals don’t get cavities because their diets aren’t high in sugar, and because they chew on more hard or rough materials than we do, such as bone or tree bark. Rodents and animals who do eat sugar have teeth that never stop growing, so new, healthy enamel is constantly being produced while old, damaged enamel is worn away by chewing.

The exception is domesticated animals, namely dogs. Dogs can develop cavities if they get too many sweet treats—so try to avoid feeding human food to your pooch!

A Shark’s Tooth Surface is 100% Fluoride

You may already know that sharks constantly lose their teeth—about one per week—for a grand total of about 35,000 in the shark’s lifetime. That’s why you can find so many shark teeth on the beach, or for sale in gift shops! However, it’s not just their numerousness that makes shark teeth incredible: the surface of each tooth is made of 100% fluoride, a mineral like salt or calcium found naturally in the ground. Fluoride makes teeth extra-strong, which is why our Lenoir pediatric dentists apply fluoride to your mouth, too.

Stop by Our Lenoir Pediatric Dentist Office for More Toothy Fun!

We hope you learned as much from this blog as we did about amazing animal teeth! While we’re on the subject of teeth, don’t forget to take care of your teeth, too. Brush and floss at least twice a day, and stop by our pediatric dentist every 6 months for a check-up! That way, even though you don’t have 15-foot tusks or rows of perpetually-growing teeth, you can still have a strong, healthy bite, just like a shark or tiger. To schedule an appointment give us a call today!