Oral Health

Do Animals Practice Dental Care ?

Nov 26 • 2 minute read

Have you ever wondered if animals practiced dental care? No, I’m not referring to your pet dog or cat that you take care of. I’m talking about wild animals, wild cats, wild dogs, crocodiles, elephants and so on. How do crocodiles keep their teeth sparkling white and clean?

Don’t they get tooth decay like we do? But then, they don’t take carbohydrates such as starch and sugar like we do. What are the chances of them getting tooth decay when their main meal is nothing but raw meat and bones? According to a senior wildlife researcher, Adam Britton, crocodiles have their very own way of ensuring their teeth stay clean and white.

They expose their teeth while in water. The water washes their teeth. And later the Sun sterilizes their teeth when they are basking in the glory of the Sun with their jaws open. But that’s not all.

Crocodiles are lucky enough to be endowed by Nature with 40 sets of teeth throughout their life. And most crocodiles die before the limit of 40 sets is reached. Another unbelievable happening is the symbiotic or two-way relationship between the Nile crocodile and Egyptian plover.

While resting on land after a meal, the Nile crocodile leaves its jaws open, enough for the Egyptian plover to enter into its mouth. The Egyptian plover has no fear of entering the crocodile’s mouth and performing the work of a dental hygenist, ‘scaling’ the crocodile’s teeth. The bird eats whatever food remains that are stuck on the crocodile’s teeth! That’s an amazing wonder.

 What about wild cats, wolves and wild dogs? To start with, wild cats and wild dogs don’t take mushy and soft food like pet cats and pet dogs. Their main diet consists of raw meat and bones. Wolves, wild dogs and wild cats clean their teeth when they gnaw on the bones of their kill.

The other thing about these wild animals is that they don’t live that long, not long enough to suffer from excruciating tooth pain or very bad tooth decay. And of course, these smart creatures abstain from taking sweet and starchy food, the key culprits for tooth decay in humans and pet dogs or cats. In the case of wild animals, cavities happen because of injury.

But in our case, it happens because of food trapped in between our teeth. So what is it that we can learn from wild animals and their ‘dental care’? Practice good oral hygiene and abstain from taking too much sugary or starchy foods to prevent tooth decay.

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