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Author Topic: QotW - 13.03.14 - Are we the only species which practises dental care?  (Read 8718 times)

Offline thedoc

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Hi, my name's Kwesi and I'm from London.































































































































My question is, are we the only species which practises dental care?































































































































I don't imagine other species brush their teeth, though I'm bracing myself to be proven wrong. yet in the many documentaries I watch, the animals, particularly felines and canines seem to have perfectly clean gnashers. Are we humans missing a trick? Or is it our complex diet that necessitates stripey toothpaste?































































































































Thanks very much, love the show!
Asked by Kwesi
































































































































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« Last Edit: 12/04/2013 14:24:51 by _system »


 

Offline thedoc

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We will answer this question in our next show. Until then what do you think?
« Last Edit: 12/04/2013 14:24:51 by _system »
 

Offline bizerl

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We had a dog with bad teeth at one stage. The vet told us to feed her raw chicken bones as the act of chewing and crunching the hard(ish) bones, helped keep the teeth clean.

I'm not sure how herbivores would manage but I'd imagine the occasional chew on a piece of bark might help keep the plaque at bay.
 

Offline evan_au

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Perhaps the human love of high-sugar, highly processed, cooked and softened foods means that oral bacteria can make a good living in our mouths?
They break down sugars in the food, producing acids that eat into the enamel of the tooth.
Humans are very long-lived, and so the bacteria have an extended opportunity to attack our adult teeth which appear at around age 5.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dental_caries#History

The bacteria live in a biofilm (plaque) that is hard to remove.
There have been suggestions that some early humans may have used grass stalks for flossing; tiny silica crystals produced by the grasses can leave distinctive grooves in the teeth... http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2003/11/06/983592.htm
« Last Edit: 17/03/2013 07:15:28 by CliffordK »
 

Offline CliffordK

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The enamel covering of teeth is a milky white translucent crystalline structure.  To a degree, it will allow the color of the underlying dentin to show through.  The dentin may range from yellow/brown, through cream, to nearly white. Consequently depending upon how yellow the dentin is and how thick the enamel is, teeth will be varying shades of white. (As an aside, you cannot bleach the dentin any whiter than it is, and therefore, it is a limiting factor in bleaching teeth). So, if animal has thick enamel and relatively light dentin, their teeth will be relatively white.  Another factor is diet. The typical diet of most mammals (other than humans) consists of heavily fibrous, tough foods which serve to debride the teeth of any discoloring materials and films that might have otherwise accumulated.  And they donít smoke or drink tea and coffee!

Sal Napoli, DDS, MD
Florham Park, NJ
Mod: Moved to this week's QOTW
« Last Edit: 17/03/2013 07:25:52 by CliffordK »
 

Offline Ethos_

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Hi, my name's Kwesi and I'm from London.

My question is, are we the only species which practises dental care?

I remember seeing a documentary once about tiny fish that would clean the particles of flesh left on the teeth of a predator after feeding. For the life of me, I can't remember the identity of the predator, whether an alligator or shark, I can't remember. Maybe it was a Moray Eel, I just can't remember but I'm sure I saw this on National Geographic Channel. I thought it quite interesting that the predator would allow such a cleaning without disposing of these tiny fish in the process. Nature is a marvelous thing isn't it!
« Last Edit: 17/03/2013 20:59:37 by Ethos_ »
 

Offline JimBob

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Chimps do
 

Offline AndroidNeox

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And crocodiles let birds pick stuff from their teeth.
 

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