Did you know that all mammals have teeth? It’s one of those characteristics we all share, along with warm blood and the need to breathe oxygen. And while we may all have teeth, they don’t all look the same. In fact, the different types of teeth that mammals have can tell us a lot about their diet and lifestyle.
The Different Types of Mammal Teeth and Their Functions
The different types of teeth in mammals have different functions. Deciduous teeth are used for chewing soft foods, while permanent teeth are used for chewing harder foods. Canines are used for tearing meat, and incisors are used for cutting food. Molars are used for grinding food.
What makes mammal teeth unique?
A defining characteristic of mammal teeth, according to the National Park Service, is that they vary in size and shape from the back row to the front row of teeth. feature sharp, long canines as well as broad, rough molar teeth. Their teeth allow them to tear, cut, grind, and chew.
Herbivores tend to have teeth that most closely resemble molars, meaning they’re box-shaped and not very sharp, and used to chew and grind plant matter down. Carnivores have sharper teeth. Then there’s omnivores, where we can enjoy both a steak and a salad in the same meal, should we choose.
However, the dolphin is a wild card, proving some animals don’t use their teeth for chewing much at all, which we’ll get to in a second.
First, humans have two sets of teeth: deciduous teeth (baby teeth) and permanent teeth. Deciduous teeth start to come in when we’re about six months old, and they’re usually all in by the time we’re about three years old. Permanent teeth start to come in around the age of six, and they continue to come in until we’re about 12-13 years old.
Human deciduous teeth have 20 teeth, while our permanent teeth have 32. Our deciduous teeth are smaller than our permanent teeth, and they fall out as our permanent teeth come in.
Canine Teeth – Dogs
Canines are sharp teeth that are used for tearing meat. They’re typically the longest teeth in a mammal’s mouth. Canines are found in many different types of mammals, including dogs, cats, wolves, and bears.
Feline Teeth – Cats
Felines have sharp, pointed teeth that are used for catching and killing prey. They also have a pair of canine teeth that are larger than the rest of their teeth. Feline teeth are very sharp and can easily pierce through flesh.
Monkeys have 32 teeth, just like humans, chimpanzees, and apes. However, their teeth are slightly different in shape and size. Monkeys have smaller canine teeth than humans, chimpanzees, and apes, and their incisors are less pointed.
Here is a table that summarizes the differences between ape teeth, gorilla teeth, monkey teeth, and chimpanzee teeth:
|Large and robust
|Even larger and more robust
|Smaller and more delicate
|Long and sharp
|Long and sharp
|Shorter and less sharp
|Mostly fruit and leaves
|Mostly fruit and leaves
Because monkeys and apes share so many characteristics, it’s easy to mistake them for the same animal. But what about the reality? They are not only not the same animal. They are from two different primatological groups!
Gorillas and Ape Teeth
Apes have 32 teeth, just like humans and chimpanzees. However, their teeth are slightly different in shape and size. Apes have smaller canine teeth than humans and chimpanzees, and their incisors are less pointed.
Chimpanzees have 32 teeth, just like humans. However, their teeth are slightly different in shape and size. Chimpanzees have larger canine teeth than humans, and their incisors are more pointed.
Dolphins have conical-shaped teeth that are evenly spaced in both their upper and lower jaws. Dolphins do not chew their food, but instead use their teeth to grab and hold onto prey before swallowing it whole.
Here are some additional facts about dolphin teeth:
- Dolphins have one set of teeth for their entire lives.
- Dolphin teeth are not replaced if they are lost.
- Dolphin teeth grow throughout their lives.
- Dolphin teeth are used for both hunting and communication.
- Dolphin teeth are an important part of their anatomy and help them to survive in the wild.
The number of teeth varies from species to species, with the long-beaked common dolphin having the most teeth at up to 240, and Risso’s dolphins having the fewest at between 4 and 14 teeth. Their teeth are also used for communication and for displaying dominance.
The Importance of Keeping Your Permanent Teeth as a Mammal
Teeth are important for many reasons. They help us to chew our food, which is essential for digestion. They also help us to speak clearly and smile care-free. In addition, teeth can help to protect our jaws and other facial bones.
A great smile can also help us be more confident and secure in ourselves, which may lead to financial and growth opportunities. Just ask our very own Phoenix Suns Gorilla about the importance of believing in yourself and good dental hygiene the next time you’re at a game.
Taking Care of Our Teeth
It is important to take care of our teeth so that they stay healthy and strong. We can do this by brushing our teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, and seeing a dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.