In honor of Shark Week, Philip A. Gentry, DDS, from the School of Dentistry shares a list of facts all about shark teeth that he wrote for his blog.
Sharks are born with a full set of teeth.
Our baby teeth form during the sixth to eight week of prenatal development and begin erupting at about 6 months of age. Unlike humans, shark pups enter the world with a full set of teeth and can fend for themselves.
Sharks have lots of teeth.
Our set of 20 baby teeth usually erupts by age 2. By age 18, we have our adult set, totaling 32 teeth. Most sharks have between five and 15 rows of teeth. The bull shark has 50 rows of teeth and up to 350 teeth erupted at one time!
Shark’s continuously lose and replace their teeth.
A lost permanent tooth is unable to replace itself naturally. Sharks typically break off and lose at least one tooth a week. When a shark’s tooth falls out, another spins forward like a conveyor belt from their rows of backup teeth. A shark may grow and use over 50,000 teeth in its lifetime!
Both the sharks upper and lower jaws move and it swallows it’s food whole.
We use our teeth to bite and chew food. Sharks have the strongest jaws on the planet and, unlike most animals, sharks can move both their lower and upper jaws! Sharks use their teeth to grab, hold, and rip prey then swallow its food whole.
If there was a Shark Tooth Fairy, they would be rich fish.
According to the 2017 Delta Dental Tooth Fairy Poll of parents of children 6 to12 years old, the average payout per lost tooth is $4.13. Children have 20 baby teeth, for a total of $82.60. For an average shark that loses 20,000 teeth, that would be $82,600!
Shark teeth have cavity protection.
Sharks don’t get cavities; their teeth surface contains fluoride! The teeth of humans and other mammals contain hydroxyapatite, which is also found in bone.
Check out the full blog here.