Bearded dragons are interesting and distinct animals that are gradually becoming popular as household pets. They can crunch on insects and feed on vegetables.
You’re probably wondering how they’re able to feed? This article reveals all you need to know about your bearded dragon’s oral health. Let’s get started!
Do Bearded Dragons Have Teeth?
Most living organisms possess teeth for easy breakdown and absorption of food particles. Teeth are usually white, hard structures that are of different shapes and sizes.
While many animals have broad, flat-surfaced teeth for grinding foods, a few have sharper teeth for tearing flesh, and others have mixed dentition for performing different functions.
That being said, do bearded dragons have teeth?
Yes, bearded dragons have teeth. They have numerous small teeth that are quite sharp for feeding on vegetables and small insects like crickets, mealworms, and bugs. Bearded dragons rarely bite humans except they feel threatened or unsafe.
Though beardies are relaxed in nature, they can be aggressive if they’re in harm’s way. Typically, they freeze and fluff their neck when exposed to danger, and they seldom bite.
How Many Teeth Do Bearded Dragons Have?
Tooth sockets and alveoli are absent in most lizards’ dentition; hence their teeth are either acrodont or pleurodont. Bearded dragons’ teeth are mostly acrodont, and they’re outwardly fused to the biting edges of the upper and lower jawbones.
They have about 11 to 17 teeth on the upper jaw and 13 to 20 teeth on the lower jaw. Acrodont teeth are triangular and vary in size.
Though a greater number of their dentition is acrodont, they also have pleurodont teeth. Bearded dragons have 8 pleurodont teeth, 4 on both the upper and lower jaw.
Bearded Dragon Teeth Problems
Bearded dragons are susceptible to tooth fractures, tooth infections, and periodontal disease. If these tooth problems are not treated or attended to, they can lose their teeth. Periodontal disease usually affects beardies and a few other lizard species.
It’s mostly caused by the accumulation of plaque, leading to inflammation and infection. Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease include the following:
- Bleeding in the mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Receding gums
- Missing/loss of teeth
- Sores on the mouth
- Bone exposure
- Buildup of mucus in the mouth
- Difficulty in swallowing food
If your bearded dragon exhibits any of the above symptoms, ensure to visit the veterinarian as soon as you can. The veterinarian will likely want to conduct a full oral examination and physical exam workup on your pet.
Other factors that can lead to tooth damage or disease are:
- Feeding bearded dragons large quantity of soft foods
- Excess sugary fruits
- Mineral or vitamin deficiencies
- Fighting with other beardies
To prevent teeth problems in your beardie, ensure you feed them with a balanced diet, limit stress, and regularly clean their teeth. A wrong diet can lead to teeth disease in bearded dragons. Ensure their diet are a mixture of hard and soft foods.
Never feed them only soft-bodied insects. There’s a buildup of bacteria and plaque when fragments of soft foods get trapped in between the teeth. Hard foods don’t pose such an issue; instead, they strengthen the mouth tissues.
Stress, another leading cause of teeth damage, can occur when bearded dragons bang their heads, fight each other, or glass surf. If you have more than one beardie, ensure you house them in separate enclosures.
Never forget, bearded dragons are territorial and solitary creatures. Keeping them together will lead to fighting for food or territorial claim.
Do Bearded Dragons Teeth Grow Back?
Bearded dragons have unusual dentition compared to other reptiles and animals. While their front teeth can fall out and regrow, their back teeth don’t grow back. The back teeth offer greater protection than the front teeth, so it’s rare for beardies to lose one of these teeth.
Typically, bearded dragons do not lose their teeth, but they get to wear down. Nevertheless, they can be lost if not properly cared for.
How to Clean Bearded Dragon Teeth?
You need to pay rapt attention to your beardie’s oral health as it’s a crucial aspect of owning a bearded dragon.
Your bearded dragon’s teeth should be cleaned often to prevent teeth loss, wear out, and gum disease to prolong the lifespan of the pet. Beardies are prone to contracting periodontal disease hence the need for routine care.
Using a soaked cotton bud, clean your bearded dragon’s teeth by gently wiping its teeth and gums. To moisten the cotton bud, you can make use of water or diluted chlorhexidine solution. This process should be carried out once or twice a week.
Chlorhexidine is both an antiseptic and disinfectant that decreases yeast activity, fungus, viruses, and bacteria. Ensure you seek your veterinarian’s advice before using this product.
For the potency and safety of bearded dragons, get the right concentration. Furthermore, check their teeth for discoloration, inflammation, or broken teeth.
Are Bearded Dragons Teeth Sharp?
Most animals’ teeth are sharp to an extent. The teeth of baby bearded dragons and juveniles are sharper than that of the adults. The frequent chewing of food wears down the teeth of the young ones as they grow old. This is highly dependent on the type of diet given to your pet.
As a general rule, bearded dragons’ teeth lose their sharpness as they become older. Diet plays a huge role in the oral health of these little creatures. Ensure you feed your beardie with good diets supplemented with vitamins.
Like humans, these small-sized animals are often affected by plaques if their teeth aren’t well cleaned. Over time, plaques build up into tartar, leading to teeth problems.
To reduce the accumulation of these, experts advise reducing the quantity of citrus and sugary fruits you feed your pets since excess sugar can result in unhealthy teeth. To protect their teeth, feed them with more insects and vegetables—these aid natural cleaning of the teeth.
While a balanced diet for your baby bearded dragon should comprise 60% insects and 40% vegetables, adults’ should be 80% insects and 20% vegetation.
Lighting has an immense effect on dragons’ dentition. A suitable UVB lighting setup promotes healthy teeth as the bearded dragon efficiently absorbs calcium. However, note that a wrong setup is detrimental to your pet’s health.
Does It Hurt if Bearded Dragon Bites You?
It’s been stated before that bearded dragons rarely bite, but you’ll experience little or no pain if you’re unfortunately bitten by one. The level of pain you feel is determined by the age and size of your bearded dragon.
Having serrated teeth, expect a small tingling sensation once this reptile bites you. Below are some of the reasons bearded dragons bite their handlers:
You’re more likely to get bitten by a hungry beardie. Ensure your pet is fed regularly. Starve these creatures for a few days and see them reaching out for your fingers when handling them.
Also, you’re prone to bites if they perceive the smell of food on your hands. They’re highly sensitive to smell, so it’s expedient you wash your hand after handling food.
– Self Defense
Your beardie will probably bite you if they feel threatened or sense an uncomfortable situation. Have you seen your bearded dragon puffing up its beard while trying to pamper it? Back off! Biting is a defense mechanism for them so pay close attention.
Proper handling is one skill every beardie owner should learn. Mishandling these small creatures can lead to bites. Some people have little or no prior experience of handling bearded dragons, so they get bitten. Teach children how to handle them with care.
– Untamed Bearded Dragons
An untamed beardie doesn’t like to be touched and will likely bite if they’re stroked. Before buying, ensure bearded dragons are properly cared for and allowed to interact with humans—this curbs the risk of bringing home an untamed pet.
– Mating Season
Bearded dragons exhibit some irrational behaviors during their mating season. They can be territorial, not wanting to be handled. Have you noticed this trait in your pet? Guess you should give them some space till their mating season is over.
If you invade their privacy and forcefully touch them, you’re most likely going to get bitten. They’re often proud and aggressive during this period. Though bearded dragons rarely bite, in response to some unfavorable circumstances, they do bite.
Have you ever been bitten by a dragon? First, wipe clean the affected area with an antiseptic before seeing the doctor.
To avoid getting bitten, feed your pet regularly, pick them from the tail, wear the right clothing, and once your bearded dragon exhibits some signs of defense, keep your distance.
Bearded dragons possess teeth, though they aren’t the same as humans. It’s important to understand your beardie’s feeding habits and teeth to promote dental care. Inspect their teeth once a month and pay routine visits to a licensed veterinarian to detect teeth problems early.
While beardies seldom bite, they do when they feel scared and uncomfortable in a new environment. With the right care and handling, you’ll enjoy having a bearded dragon as a pet.