Posts Tagged ‘animals’

Fun Facts for Kids – Dental Hygiene in the Wild

August 1st, 2017

Previously we’ve looked at the wildest animal teeth that nature has to offer, but have you ever thought about how animals keep their teeth clean?

Cats and Dogs

If you have a cat or a dog you’ve probably had to clean their teeth at some point with paste or dental treats to chew on. Most wild animals don’t have to worry about tooth decay, especially if they’re carnivorous predators who rip and tear at their food. That’s because they don’t eat a lot of carbohydrates and refined sugars – those tasty foods that are full of the sugars and starches that fill our mouths with cavity-creating bacteria.

Rodents and Rabbits

Other animals, like rodents, have teeth that grow continuously and have to be ground down by eating and gnawing on hard food. Sharks and alligators are constantly losing and growing new teeth!

If your teeth are always new it’s going to be difficult to have tooth decay. This is why otters can eat fish & eels and rabbits can eat grasses & plants (and lions can eat everyone else) without having to worry about going to the dentist!

Cows and Buffalo

The diet of some herbivores naturally cleans their teeth as they chew. Fibourous plants and an extended chew-time allows animals like cows to scrub their teeth as they eat.


Humans are not alone in caring for their teeth. Scientists have filmed macaque monkeys using hair to floss their teeth. Macaques living near a Buddhist shrine in Thailand even pull out visitors’ hair to use as floss! And like all good parents, these monkeys also teach their children how to floss. They slow down their flossing, make exaggerated movements, and repeat themselves while the younger monkeys watch.

Want to learn more about this impressive skill? Check out this article from National Geographic!

So remind your patients, if a monkey can brush their teeth, so can they!


Fun Facts for Kids – Wow Your Patients with These 3 Interesting Facts about This Weird Appendage

February 1st, 2017

The tongue. Not a common conversation topic, yet such a critical part of human and animal survival. Without it, we can’t talk, eat or drink. Those are pretty important functions and in the animal world the tongue plays an even bigger role and has some pretty funky adaptations. Here are 3 weird facts that you can share with your young patients to get them interested in anatomy.

1. Most people are familiar with the chameleon; it has the longest tongue in the world in relation to its body. But did you know it has a sticky, mucus tip on its tongue that can lasso around any prey pulling the victim back in at lightning speed?

a long chameleon tongue catching a caterpillar

Hmmm, you know, we’re pretty sure we’ve seen this same technique used by moviegoers on their freshly popped popcorn. Who needs hands when you have a tongue!


2. Cats, giraffes, anteaters, and snakes all have tongue adaptations that enable them to groom, strip thorny bushes, dip into ant mounds, and even smell!


3. Nothing is as crazy as the tongue-eating isopod! It’s a critter, well a parasite actually, that targets fish by infiltrating its gills and latching onto its tongue. It not only proceeds to consume the poor fish’s tongue, but it will replace it with its own body, providing the fish with a new fully-functioning tongue it uses, albeit begrudgingly, to grind food against tiny teeth on the roof of its mouth.

an ispod tongue parasite in a fish mouth

Yikes! Maybe the phrase should be “Isopod got your tongue?” No thanks; we think we’d rather have the cat any day!


Humor has great uses when it comes to putting patients at ease. Using Humor with Your Patients by  states,

“Studies show that laughter brings physical benefits and releases endorphins. It also boosts the immune system, improves stamina, and can strengthen breathing. And, of course, there are emotional and social benefits too—like reducing depression or anxiety and helping us feel close with friends and family.”

So put your patients at ease and help them build a trusting relationship by injecting humor into your interactions with them during their appointments. You’ll set them up with a positive attitude toward their dental hygiene that can last their whole lives.


Fun Facts for Kids – 3 Examples of Wild Animal Teeth

January 2nd, 2015

The animal kingdom is full of interesting teeth! Here we have highlighted some of the weirdest teeth we could find!

1. Sharks
Sharks make their own toothpaste! Well, sort of. The surface of a shark’s tooth is made up of 100% fluoride – that stuff found in toothpaste and mouthwash that keeps your teeth healthy. That, plus the fact that sharks replace their teeth regularly, means they never get cavities. So does that mean that sharks have probably the healthiest mouths in the animal kingdom?

2. Seals
The Crabeater seal lives in Antarctica and is one of the most common types of seal. Despite its name, the Crabeater seal does not eat crab! Instead it eats Antarctic krill (a small type of crustacean that swims in large groups), which it filters through its wild-looking lobed teeth. The seals swim through schools of krill with their mouth open then sieve the water out through their specially designed teeth and leave the tasty krill behind for the seals to eat.

By Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins (1807–1894) – The zoology of the voyage of the H.M.S. Erebus Terror, under the command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross, during the years 1839 to 1843. By authority of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty (1844), Public Domain

3. Sheep
You can tell how old a sheep is by looking at their teeth! When sheep are born they don’t have any teeth on the top of their mouths, just eight baby (or milk) teeth on their lower jaw. Instead of top front teeth, sheep have a dental pad and front and bottom molars in the back of their mouths. The baby teeth are slowly replaced as the sheep age. Looking at which of these front bottom teeth have been replaced with adult teeth can help determine if the sheep is one year old, two years old, or three. By the time they are four years old they have a full set of 32 teeth.