Let's take a fun look at 5 examples of how Mother Nature helps care for animals’ chompers.
Humans have been trained to brush their teeth twice a day and also told the importance of flossing and using a mouth rinse. How is it that animals tend to maintain pretty good oral health without ever establishing the same routines to protect their mouths?
Well, a lot of factors play into this. In some cases, types of animals will help other animals clean their teeth, and in other instances animals just naturally behave in ways that help them keep their teeth strong.
Here we take a fun look at 5 examples of how Mother Nature helps care for animals’ chompers.
Wildlife researchers claim that crocodiles ensure their teeth stay clean and white just by swimming around with their mouths open and also taking in some sunshine. The water washes their teeth, while Mother Nature’s glowing sun sterilizes them. On top of this, crocodiles are lucky enough to be endowed with 40 sets of teeth throughout their life. This figure often represents more than enough sets for them to use during a lifetime.
Even so, they’re also blessed with regular cleanings from the small Egyptian Plover bird. These birds get into the crocodile’s mouth and pick out the tiny bits of food stuck in the teeth. This risky looking behavior is actually a win-win. The bird gets food to complete its diet, while this process cleans the crocodile’s teeth, helping keep the carnivore’s mouth fresh and free from infections.
The Cleaner Shrimp
According to Small Science (https://smallscience.hbcse.tifr.res.in/the-cleaner-shrimp/), The Cleaner Shrimp performs a similar service as the Plover bird by cleaning the teeth of fish. The organism is called a decapod as it has 10 feet, and it stays near Coral Reefs in seas. They form pairs or larger groups and set up a “cleaning station”. Their bright color tells the fish that they are not ordinary shrimps, who can be eaten. When found together in groups, fish know that they have set up a station. Some kinds of cleaner shrimps even perform dances to advertise about and invite fish into their new cleaning station. A big fish will swim slowly into the cleaning station, very calmly so that the cleaning shrimps know that they are not going to be eaten. They even pose in a certain way to show the shrimps that they are safe. They may point in a certain direction or even open the mouth wide.
When the task is complete, the fish feels fresh and clean; safe from infections which those parasites may have caused, and the group of cleaner shrimps get their food together. It’s a win-win.
Chewing Methods That Deliver Brushing/Flossing Results
Herbivores that depend on raw food that is rich with fiber (including cows and buffalo) need to chew their food for a very long time so that it can be easily digested. In the process of chewing these fiber-rich foods, they unwittingly clean their teeth along the way. Who needs to brush after eating when you can accomplish both tasks at once? Elephants are another example of this. They have 2 incisors (tusks) that are brushed naturally when they dig holes or chisel the bark off trees. Some biologists believe that the male elephants will keep their incisors clean in order to impress the females, proving that humans aren’t the only ones impressed by a great smile.
Saliva to Spare
Members of the feline family, like tigers and other large cats, have saliva with a very high pH value. This protects their enamel from demineralizing and thus prevents cavities. Dentists are well aware of the problems dry mouth sufferers face, so it goes to show that animals with high levels of pH should have naturally healthier teeth.
Sugar Free Diets
Unlike people, animals living in the wild don’t consume much cooked food or sweetened beverages. Whether they are herbivores or carnivores—or both—they’re diets consist of only raw food and water. For this reason, these animals’ teeth don’t run the risk of being eaten away by food that is rich in refined sugar or those sweet drinks so popular with humans. Therefore, most wild animals are already at a lower risk of tooth decay thanks to the food they eat.