Our teeth are important to good oral health for many reasons. They are vital for chewing our food, retaining bone for facial structure, and maintain a healthy, beautiful smile. But humans are not the only ones with teeth. The animal kingdom is full of toothy specimens. Let’s look at a few of the more unusual teeth found in animals, past and present.
The musk deer is found in Asia, and is not actually a deer. Its name comes from the scent they use to mark their territory. When you see one, you can easily tell why they are also known as the “saber-toothed deer.” They have fangs that grow several inches past their lower jaw. Fortunately, looks are deceiving. Rather than being scary blood-suckers, the musk deer are herbivores, and use the fangs to scrape off moss to eat.
This whale gets its unicorn appearance from its right canine, which grows upwards through its forehead. This odd creature has no other teeth – although there are rare examples where a second “horn” grows from the left canine socket.
This fish, which still swims in the Amazon today, has stalked the waters since the saber-tooth tiger was still roaming the jungles. The payara’s four-inch fangs in its bottom jaw make it the water equivalent of that tiger. Unlike most saber-fanged animals, its fangs remain in the mouth and slide into holes in the upper jaw.
Fortunately for the animals of the sea, this powerful prehistoric shark couldn’t survive extreme climate change. This creature, typically 67 feet in length, lost and replaced teeth during its life, like sharks of today. However, this animal, labeled by paleontologists as “the most powerful animal of all time,” went through over 20,000 teeth in its lifetime.
Our teeth are not quite as strange as the teeth of these animals. But you need to be sure to brush and floss daily, and visit your dentist regularly to maintain your teeth so they can do their intended job.