The human tooth is an interesting biological study. Although small and perhaps the most commonly lost body part next to hair, teeth are surprisingly strong. Your teeth are strong enough to continually handle a human bite, which can exert up to 200psi of pressure. The enamel that covers them is the second strongest substance on earth next to diamonds, and yet is susceptible to decay and acid erosion. Our teeth are interesting enough to have garnered the attention of our earliest ancestors, and evidence from as far back as 7000BC points to ancient attempts at treating toothaches. Yet, humans only possess a very small portion of the world’s teeth. Lafayette dentist, Dr. Michael Young, explores the teeth of our animal neighbors, and finds that our teeth are not the only interesting ones around.
Interesting Animal Teeth Facts
- A healthy adult human mouth contains 32 teeth, including the four last molars known as wisdom teeth. Giraffes also have 32 teeth, dogs have 42, and cats have 44 teeth.
- Humans are only granted two sets of teeth in our lives; our first set, or primary teeth, are usually completely replaced by our teen years. A shark’s mouth, however, contains row upon row of teeth, and while they lose teeth every week, these are replaced. In fact, a shark can have more than 20,000 teeth total in its lifetime.
- Another interesting shark tooth fact: Their teeth will never develop cavities. Fluoride, the active ingredient in most toothpaste and mouthwashes, naturally occurs in a sharks tooth, offering constant protection against tooth decay.
- The world’s largest tooth (from a modern animal) belongs to the elephant, whose giant tusk is actually just an odd incisor. The heaviest pair of tusks recorded belonged to an African elephant that was shot in 1897. Together, the tusks weighed an astonishing 465 pounds!
- Humans have dentists to help us clean our teeth. Crocodiles have the crocodile bird. This odd aviator perches on the open mouth of a crocodile and cleans its teeth for it.
As interesting as animal teeth can be, humans are the only species to have developed a science of taking care of our teeth. If you live in the 70508 area and are in need of dental care, or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Young, call our Lafayette dentist office at (337) 237-6453.