Do bearded dragons have teeth? As a matter of fact, they do! And bearded dragons don’t just have your average garden variety teeth either. Beardies, as they are commonly nicknamed, can actually regrow some of their teeth throughout their lifetime.
If you have never seen bearded dragon teeth before, you might not know what to expect or even what to look for. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about bearded dragon teeth, including mouth problems and proper preventative oral care.
Do Bearded Dragons Have Teeth
Bearded dragons have two types of teeth, acrodont and pleurodont. And they are both pretty fascinating!
Acrodont bearded dragon teeth
The majority of a bearded dragon’s teeth are acrodont teeth. These teeth will look pointy and are designed to chew food. They are located along the sides of the upper and lower jaws. Acrodont teeth aren’t very durable, unfortunately. They have very short roots and are attached quite superficially to the jawbone itself.
Because of this, acrodont teeth are the type most likely to break off and develop infection or rot. If they break off, acrodont teeth will not regenerate. However, young beardies may grow extra acrodont teeth at the back of the jaw as long as there is space available.
Pleurodont bearded dragon teeth.
Bearded dragons also have pleurodont teeth, but far fewer of them than acrodont teeth. In fact, beardies only have four pleurodont teeth in total – two up front on the upper jaw and two up front on the lower jaw. The pleurodont teeth differ from acrodont teeth in two important ways: they have longer roots and they are more securely attached to the jaw bone.
In bearded dragons, the four pleurodont teeth look like tiny upper and lower front fangs – what we might call incisors in a dog or cat. If a pleurodont tooth breaks off, a new one will typically regenerate in the same place as the original tooth.
How Many Teeth Do Bearded Dragons Have
Bearded dragon teeth are not like people teeth. This is because beardies don’t have tooth sockets like people do. Tooth sockets anchor the teeth more firmly in the jaw and make them less likely to crack, break or fall out. But as we mentioned earlier here, unlike people, bearded dragons can grow some new teeth, a superpower science types call polyphyodonty.
While bearded dragons aren’t the only vertebrate animals with this ability, they have greater tooth regenerative abilities than many species. However, beardies can’t regrow all their teeth. They can only regenerate the four pleurodont front teeth.
There are six species of lizards known as Pogona, or bearded dragons (the central or inland bearded dragon is the most common in the pet trade today). When we are talking about bearded dragon teeth, it is important to know the exact species of dragon you have, because different species can have different numbers of teeth.
For general purposes, an adult bearded dragon may have anywhere from 17 to 20 teeth along each side of the upper and lower jawlines. This can mean the adult animal with a healthy mouth and teeth may have as many as 80 teeth in their mouth at any given time!
Baby Bearded Dragon Teeth
Unlike baby humans, baby beardies are born with a full set of teeth. Why is this? Baby beardies, or neonates, have to take care of themselves as soon as they hatch. They don’t have the mama beardie looking out for them and bringing them food.
Interestingly, baby bearded dragons get their full set of teeth before they even hatch. So the moment they exit the egg, they are ready to hunt for food and chew their food.
A baby bearded dragon will also have what is known as an egg tooth right on the tip of their nose. This isn’t a real tooth, however. Hatching beardies use the egg tooth to help them make their way out of the egg. The egg tooth falls off shortly after hatching.
Why Do Bearded Dragons Open Their Mouths
Bearded dragons can often be seen sitting with mouths gaping wide open. Why do bearded dragons open their mouths like this? The main reason bearded dragons will gape their mouths open is for self-cooling. This is not unlike how a dog will pant to cool themselves down in hot weather.
Like dogs, bearded dragons have a Jacobsen organ on their upper palate that boosts their sense of smell. The beardie’s specialized tongue helps direct airflow to the Jacobsen’s organ. Bearded dragons may open their mouths to analyze scents from their environment.
And when bearded dragons feel threatened, they may open their mouths to hiss while flattening their bodies and puffing out their “beards.”
What Does A Healthy Bearded Dragon Tongue Look Like
The color of your bearded dragon’s mouth, teeth and tongue can be a warning sign of health issues. So it is very important to take note of what a healthy bearded dragon tongue looks like.
Because of selective captive breeding, modern pet bearded dragons come in many morphs, or color variations. These types of breeding programs can change the coloration of each individual beardie’s mouth and tongue somewhat. But for general purposes, a healthy bearded dragon’s tongue will be long, thick and pink with a slight yellow tinge to it.
The tongue tip will be a different color and texture than the rest of the tongue. The tip will have a sticky quality to it and a slight pincer-like formation in the center, both of which are handy for feeding.
Bearded Dragon Dental Problems
What are the most common bearded dragon mouth problems? Surprisingly, bearded dragons can suffer from many of the same dental and mouth problems people do!
This condition causes inflamed gums that eventually recess and expose the underlying jawbone to infection and inflammation. Gingivitis is a precursor to periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease typically begins due to poor routine oral care. When plaque builds up on the teeth it causes gum inflammation and infection.
This in turn can lead to recession of the gumline and bone exposure. From there, infection and swelling of the gums and jawbone can occur.
Stomatitis (mouth rot)
The main symptoms of stomatitis, a bacterial infection, include thick cottage cheese-like mucus, inflamed gums, jaw swelling and/or small spots of bleeding along the jawline.
Proper Bearded Dragon Teeth Care
Should you be doing any mouth and teeth care for your bearded dragon? Yes! You can brush your bearded dragon’s teeth as often as daily using a soft moistened Q-tip. Ask your exotic pet veterinarian whether to use plain water or a special solution to clean your bearded dragon’s teeth.
Bearded dragons should also have their teeth examined and cleaned once per year during their annual physical and veterinary checkup. If you notice any change to your bearded dragon’s mouth, gum, tongue or tooth color, eating habits or weight, these are all possible warning signs of more serious oral health issues. These are always symptoms to talk with your exotic veterinarian about.
By taking time to examine your beardie’s mouth, gums, tongue and teeth at home daily, you can save your pet a lot of preventable suffering.
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