Last Modified

March 9, 2023 by Umair Shahid

The guinea pigs are very loveable pets. According to recent research, in 2022, people have 0.9 million guinea pigs as pets in the United Kingdom.

If you want to keep a guinea pig as a pet, the information about guinea pig teeth might intrigue you. These little fur friends have in total of 20 teeth.

The guinea pigs have 4 incisors (2 uppers and 2 lower), no canines, 4 premolars (2 upper and 2 lower), and 12 molars (6 uppers and 6 lower). These teeth help them grind the food efficiently.

What’s unique about guinea pig teeth?

Like other rodents, the teeth of guinea pigs never stop growing. According to veterinary experience, there is nothing special about guinea pig teeth, especially molars and premolars. However, the incisors of guinea pigs never stop growing.

These incisors help guinea pigs to chew on solid objects like meat. With time, these incisors also wear and reduce in size. Feeding on timothy hay is a natural way to keep the tooth size manageable in guinea pigs.

It might be interesting information that timothy hay is itself hard in consistency. This hay is difficult to chew, and it also plays a role in maintaining the right tooth size in guinea pigs.   

The guinea pigs also lack canine teeth. The canine teeth are necessary to tear meat. The feed of guinea pigs comprises hay and vegetables. Therefore, there is no need for canines in guinea pigs.     

How many teeth do guinea pigs have at birth?

At birth, the guinea pigs do not have empty gums. These little rodents are born with a complete set of teeth. There are no milk teeth in guinea pigs.

The guinea pigs, at birth, are ready to chew on their feed. However, the teeth size continues to increase with time. These teeth continue growing as the guinea pig ages and wear down naturally.

Total guinea pig teeth:

The total number of teeth in guinea pigs is 20. These teeth include two upper incisors, two lower incisors, one pair of upper and lower premolars, and three pairs of molars. This layout of teeth is very common in the animal kingdom.

There is only one major difference between guinea pigs and other mammals. The guinea pigs do not have canine teeth like other mammals. This difference is because of their feeding habit, which mainly contains a vegetarian diet.

Guinea pig tooth care:

The guinea pigs do not have milk teeth. They are born with a full set of permanent teeth. Therefore, they need proper care for their oral cavity.

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A healthy sparkling guinea pig’s tooth must be white with a yellowish tinge. Give your guinea pig a proper diet, especially timothy hay. This diet helps in good wear and tear of teeth.

Avoid giving sugar treats and fruits to guinea pigs in large amounts. All these treats can cause a change in the gut environment of guinea pigs, leading to diarrhea and dehydration. But they also damage the teeth of your guinea pigs.   

You do not need to brush the teeth of your guinea pig. The hay and vegetable diets are good enough to take care of the dental hygiene of guinea pigs. You can give healthy treats like broccoli and carrots to your guinea pigs.  

Frequently asked questions:

  • What food is necessary for guinea pig teeth?

The guinea pigs are mainly herbivores. They need a diet that has lots of vegetables like broccoli, celery, and timothy hay. All these foods help to maintain their dental hygiene and the growth of teeth.

  • Are overgrown teeth dangerous for guinea pigs?

Yes, the overgrowth of incisors can cause pain in guinea pigs. If you have a guinea pig pet, you must monitor the size of their teeth. The ideal diet helps maintain the size of teeth, but sometimes, you can take help from a veterinarian.

  • Does a guinea pig tooth grow back if it breaks?

Yes, the guinea pig’s tooth grows rapidly. These teeth also grow back even if they break or fall out because of any illness. However, make sure you visit a vet if you see any oral and dental problems in your guinea pigs.

Conclusion:

The guinea pigs are elodonts. The term elondontism refers to the organism that grows its teeth fast. The guinea pig teeth are a perfect example of elondontic teeth.

They need little care and cleaning. However, providing the ideal diet helps avoid oral and dental problems in guinea pigs. Usually, the guinea pigs have 20 teeth, but it can be.     

References

https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/abs/10.1098/rspb.1919.0008

Author

I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and have a keen interest in animal health care. Working as a veterinary content writer, I intend to stay with professional approach in producing quality content. I like research-based reading and currently seeking my veterinary profession. My hobbies are travelling to exotic places and observing nature to the fullest.

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