Bitesize

How do human teeth differ from animal teeth? Humans, as a species, only have one kind but teeth vary significantly among the animal kingdom. Mammals, which includes humans, are vertebrates and have skin and hair. They are warm blooded and feed their young from mother’s milk. Birds are also warm-blooded but have feathers instead of fur and lay eggs instead of live birth. Reptiles are vertebrates but cold-blooded. They have scales or plates and lay eggs like birds. Fish have fins and gills instead of lungs and also lay eggs. Now we have had a brief look at different types of animals, let’s take a look at how different their teeth can be.

bitesize

Image credit

Carnivores eat meat and need to hunt and kill to survive, therefore their teeth will all be very sharp. Front teeth have the task of biting and holding prey and long canines for tearing flesh. Sharp molars are also used for slicing as opposed to chewing as they swallow chunks fairly whole.

Herbivores eat only plants and they physically cannot digest meat. It requires a lot of plant matter to create the energy needed and that’s why herbivores tend to graze constantly. Herbivores have more molars than humans as these flat teeth enable grinding. They don’t need sharp teeth, just effective munchers for wearing down twigs, leaves and grasses.

Humans fall into the category of Omnivore meaning we eat both plants and meat. Typically, we can’t eat grass or leaves but are able to digest fruits and vegetables. Therefore, our mouths hold a combination of teeth for biting and grinding, sharp at the front and corners and molars at the back. To look after your pearly whites why not consider Leicester Cosmetic Dentistry. For more information visit http://www.sjrdental.co.uk/

bitesize2

Image credit

There are other Omnivores in the animal kingdom but this doesn’t mean that their gnashers look anything like ours. What are the other differences?

Humans have 32 teeth but horses can have up to 44 and a dolphin can have 250. Snails can have more than 25000! Imagine how long it would take to brush that lot. We get two sets of teeth in our lifetimes but dolphins only get one. Sharks can regenerate teeth constantly whenever they lose one. Humans really only need teeth or eating but some animals must also rely on them for protection and survival, hunting and defending themselves.

Dogs have more teeth than we do and lucky for them, they hardly ever get cavities due to the high pH of their saliva which prevents build up of plaque.

Some mammals have no teeth at all. The Blue Whale is the largest mammal on the planet but as they only eat tiny shrimp, they have nothing to chew. Another large mammal, the Elephant, has molars that can weigh up to 10lbs. An Elephant will lose it’s molars about once every decade but a new set then grows in.

The prehistoric T-Rex had over 60 massive, bone-crushing teeth, each one up to 9 inches long and a jaw that measured 4 feet long. Now that’s a frightening thought.