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As of their size, a guinea pig has little teeth. However, these little ones are enough to cause problems for their overall health. This is because pigs need a good diet for their well being, but they can only enjoy it if they have healthy teeth.
So, it’s important to take care of guinea pigs’ teeth if you want your little fellow to live a happy and problem-free life.
Guinea Pig Teeth and Their Anatomy
If your little pig has healthy teeth, this shows that their diet is perfect, and they are enjoying all the essential nutrients from their food. It’s important to check your guinea pigs’ teeth daily. Your cute fellow will become used to it after a couple of times. Having a good relation ship with your guinea pig who is not challenging to handle will help you to catch the dental problems easily.
For your understanding, let’s learn about the guinea pigs’ teeth anatomy. They have a total of 20 teethes, which consist of:
2 lower and 2 upper premolars
2 lower and 2 upper incisors
6 lower and 6 upper molars
The incisors are sharp and rest in front of the mouth, helping in the cutting of food. In comparison, the molars and premolars help in the chewing and grinding of food. As they are herbivores, a piggy doesn’t have canine teeth. Moreover, their incisors are in a gap from the molars known as a diastema.
The check pads present in this gap prevent molars from becoming visible without a special instrument, which helps to look at the mouth cavity. Just like human beings, guinea pig teeth have an enamel layer. This enamel is only present on the front side of the incisors so that the back remains sharpened.
Guinea pigs are prone to common oral diseases, including bacterial infections, plaque build-up, and abscesses. They also suffer from other problems that develop because of the improper growth of their teeth.
Some dental diseases in these pigs also develop because of the lack of roughage that these little pets chew and wear down their own teeth, which grow continuously. Guinea pigs need to chew fibrous material the entire day to wear down teeth. Oral diseases can cause severe discomfort and pain to your little fellow. But you can prevent this by feeding them appropriate food.
In the wild, guinea pigs mostly eat grass the entire day, which has helped them survive thousands of years on this planet. The pets should also get food in the same way. You need to give them grass hay or grass and fresh green veggies .
Dental disease can make them suffer a lot and lead to difficulty eating, drooling, illness, and weight loss. If you catch your pet suffering from any of these problems or other abnormalities, take them to the vet immediately.
Most Common Teeth Problems
Dental problems are the most common issues which almost every guinea pig can suffer from at any time of their life. However, there are various ways to prevent these problems from developing. You can give them quality and the right food, and provide an environment that will not lead to any health problem. The most common dental problems in guinea pigs include:
- Ulcers and mouth sores
- Mouth infection and dental disease
- Broken teeth or tooth fractures
- Missing teeth or tooth loss
- Elongated tooth roots
How to Perform a Dental Health Check?
If you suspect that your little piggy has any dental problems mentioned above or you just want to ensure their oral health weekly, you can do a basic examination at home. This way, you can first confirm the problem before taking them to the vet.
First, clean your hands thoroughly and then carefully wrap your pig in a towel. Hold it from its back, and place it in your lap where you can find good light.
Now hold its jaw between index finger and thumb, start checking his incisors first. They should look white, and the lower ones should be longer than the upper teeth. The upper incisors must fit snugly over the lower teeth.
Place the tip of your smallest finger into its mouth. Start to feel the gum line to the diastema gap and from the premolars to the molars. The lower molars are pretty easy to figure out any problems, and the upper molars rarely cause any disease.
Check the gap of about 3/8 to 1/2 inch between the top of the teeth. They should not be curving over the tongue. Run your finger in the mouth to check the edges of teeth and find any tooth spike or breaks.
When you are doing this, alsom ensure that there are no scabs, sores, and lesions in your pet’s mouth. Moreover, check their chest, chin, and belly if they are excessively wet because of drooling. If you find any suspicious thing during the dental check, it’s time to visit the veterinarian. Your health specialist will ask you about the checkup and symptoms of diseases. They will also ask you about the dietary and disease history of your piggy, so get prepared for it.
Guinea pig teeth are sensitive and prone to various problems. However, you can save them from developing any problem in the future by performing a weekly examination of their teeth and providing a good diet.