Fun Facts About Tiger Teeth from Our Denver Pediatric Dentist!
If your child is anxious about an upcoming dentist appointment, one great way to help is performing activities that spark interest in the world of teeth. And, to most children, few teeth are more fascinating than tiger teeth! Below are some cool big cat facts to share with your little ones.
Tigers Are Born Toothless
With such large teeth as an end result, it may be hard to believe that cubs are born without any teeth at all—but it’s true! Tigers are born pretty helpless, both blind and toothless. They are totally dependent on their mothers, who spend up to 70% of their time nursing them! After one or two weeks, the cubs’ eyes will open, and they begin to grow their first milk teeth, or baby teeth. Just like humans, their baby teeth will fall out and be replaced by adult teeth once they get a little older.
Tigers Have the Longest Big Cat Canines
Tigers have the largest canines of all big cat species, which help them kill thick-hided prey like buffalos and boars. The upper canines can be up to 3 inches long, and are full of pressure-sensing nerves that help the tiger identify the perfect spot to deliver a killing bite.
Tigers Have Gaps Between Their Teeth
The next time you look at a picture of a yawning or roaring tiger, like this one, take a look at the space between the canines and the front teeth. You will notice that there is a gap there of a few millimeters. This is actually a very useful feature for the tiger—it helps it penetrate deeply into its prey, and then grasp it very tightly. There are also gaps between the canines and the back molars, for the same reason.
The Most Dangerous Tigers Were Toothless
With fewer than 4,000 tigers left in the wild, there’s pretty much no such thing as a “man-eating tiger” anymore. However, humans in centuries past had to worry about tigers—especially the ones that were old or sick. That’s because tigers generally prefer to eat boars, deer, fish and buffalos, and only would stalk humans and farm animals if their teeth became worn down or missing. Old tigers can starve to death if they have bad teeth, so they will switch to easier prey as a last resort.
Keep Your Teeth Healthy and Strong with Denver Pediatric Dentistry!
Obviously, you don’t need to be able to bite large prey—at least, we hope not—but just like the tiger, you will only get one set of adult teeth in your entire life, so it’s important to take good care of them! Our Denver children’s dentist is designed to help kids feel comfortable and confident while maintaining a great smile. To learn more about our pediatric dentistry services or schedule an appointment, contact us today!
Want to learn how you can help protect wild tigers? Click here to learn more about the World Wildlife Fund’s tiger conservation efforts.