Healthy teeth are a very important part of a guinea pig’s overall well-being and comfort. They allow your furry friend to safely eat and consume a proper diet so they can stay active and happy in their cage.
However, you’ll never catch your guinea pig catching your teeth and it’s not expected of guinea pig owners to brush their pet’s teeth either. That’s why proactive dental care and general knowledge of your guinea pig’s teeth is important.
Guinea pigs have a total of 20 open-rooted teeth, ranging from incisors to molars, but their teeth are susceptible to dental problems, such as tooth fractures, overgrowth, oral cavities, and more.
And there’s more to know! So with that said, we’re going to cover everything you need to know so your guinea pig can keep their healthy teeth in tip top shape.
First, let’s cover the different types of teeth that you can find in a guinea pig’s mouth.
Types of Guinea Pig Teeth
As mentioned in the introduction, adult guinea pigs have open-rooted teeth. This means that the root canal in the teeth remains open and the teeth will continually grow. Unfortunately, this can lead to overgrown teeth, which we’ll cover in the next section of common tooth problems.
But before we get there, let’s talk about the two different types of a guinea pig’s teeth, which are incisors and molars.
Incisors are the front teeth in a guinea’s pig’s mouth and are normally about 1.5 centimeters long. Their primary purpose is to grab food, break it apart, move food to the molars for chewing, as well as grooming.
There are two types of these teeth at the front of the mouth, lower incisors and upper incisors. Both serve the same purpose, their only difference is where in the jaw they sit.
And while we’re talking about incisors, it’s important to note that guinea pigs don’t have any canine teeth. Canines are the more pointed, front teeth that are useful for chewing and tearing apart meat, but since guinea pigs are herbivores, these teeth aren’t necessary and you won’t see them in a guinea pig’s mouth.
The other type of teeth that you’ll find in adult guinea pigs are molars, which are the larger, flat teeth at the back of the mouth. These lower cheek teeth are flatter and rooted more sturdily into the jaw and are primarily used for chewing and mashing down food to be swallowed.
These back teeth also fall into two categories, lower molars and upper molars. Both serve the same purpose as part of a set of healthy teeth used to chew items as part of a good diet. There are also upper and lower premolars, which are closer to the front of the mouth, but they are all the same type of teeth.
Now that we’ve covered the two main types of guinea pig’s teeth, let’s talk about some of the common dental problems that can befall your furry friend.
Common Dental Problems
Dental problems are all to familiar for regular people as well as guinea pig owners. The importance of healthy teeth can’t be overstated because they are an essential part of consuming a proper diet and maintaining strong oral health, which affects so many other parts of your pet’s well-being.
So let’s cover some of the most common dental problems for your guinea pig.
As mentioned earlier, guinea pigs have open rooted teeth, which means those teeth continually grow, unlike humans. And teeth that continually grow can quickly become overgrown teeth and cause pain and issues in consuming a proper diet.
Overgrown teeth can cause sores as they continually rub on your guinea pig’s gums, as well as make it difficult for them to eat properly. As a result, it’s important to give your furry friend plenty of chew toys to regularly trim back their teeth to prevent overgrowth.
As mentioned earlier, a guinea pig’s teeth will continually grow, which can result in overgrowth, but may also result in elongated roots. These elongated roots will push up or grow into the upper or lower jaw, which can cause painful bumps and other dental issues.
If you start to notice bumps on their jawline or you guinea pig not eating as much as they should, which can result in weight loss issues, you should take them to the veterinarian for a check up. A trained vet can diagnose and provide a treatment plan to deal the elongated roots.
Just as any tooth can contain decay, guinea pig’s are no exception. Dental disease and oral cavities can take root in a guinea pig’s teeth, causing significant pain and discomfort. Just remember the last time you had a cavity.
As a result, when guinea pigs develop an oral cavity it can cause them to not eat or lead to more serious oral health issues. While you don’t need to brush your furry friend’s teeth every day, a well-balanced diet and plenty of chew toys will go a long way in prevent oral cavities and other dental diseases.
Not necessarily an issues specific to teeth, but a poor diet can lead to any of the tooth problems listed above. A guinea pig’s diet should consist of specially designed pellets and occasional fruits and vegetables to prevent tooth decay and other oral health issues.
Generally, soft foods are preferred because their teeth are delicate, so you should avoid any seriously abrasive or hard foods that will be difficult to chew. Make sure you’re providing your guinea pig with a nutritious diet that contains only foods that are safe for our furry friends to eat.
And make sure they’re getting enough vitamin C as it’s a beneficial nutrient that has plenty of positive health effects for guinea pigs.
Frequently asked questions
Now, let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to guinea pig’s and their continually growing teeth.
Yes, guinea pigs can get cavities just as any other animal with teeth. Cavities generally occur when a guinea pig doesn’t have a proper diet and too much sugar. So if you give your furry friend occasional treats, make sure to be cognizant of how often you’re providing them.
Yes, a guinea pig’s teeth are open rooted, which means they will continually grow. If a tooth is damaged or falls out, it will grow back in place, but any damaged tooth will cause pain, so proactive oral health is the best option.
Yes, a guinea pig’s teeth can get too long and cause issues with damaging their surrounding gums and making it difficult to eat. While you don’t have to trim their teeth like hamsters, you should be giving them plenty of chew toys to naturally wear down the teeth and prevent overgrowth.
Yes, a guinea pig’s teeth can fall out if they don’t have a well-balanced diet and proper oral care. Make sure to follow all best practices when it comes to your guinea pig’s teeth to prevent any short or long-term issues.
No, guinea pig’s teeth don’t need regular trimming as like other small animals, but you should be giving them plenty of toys to chew on so they can naturally wear down the overgrowth and prevent any dental issues.
To keep your guinea pig’s teeth short, give them plenty of safe toys to chew on that will naturally wear down the growth. You can find these at any pet store and are normally made of safe, hard plastic. If you notice any large plastic pieces breaking off, discard the toy and get a new one to prevent any choking hazards.
There’s no perfect size for a guinea pig’s teeth, but a proper length is about 0.5 inch or 1.5cm long. This is long enough for them to adequately chew food, but not too long to prevent normal behavior.
And there you have it! There’s so much to know about a guinea pig’s teeth that it can be hard to know where to start. But all it takes is one question, which was the original prompt for this article.
Pet guinea pigs have 20 open-rooted teeth that continually grow and need to be treated with special care to avoid oral and other dental issues. Overgrowth, cavities, and elongated roots are all issues that can pose serious issues if not addressed.
And make sure to provide your furry friend with a well-balanced and proper diet that will keep them happy and healthy for a long time.