Guinea Pig Teeth: A Guide To Guinea Pig Dental Care

Pet guinea pig has become a phenomenon among pet owners due its cute size but their miniature size makes it very hard for their owners to identify any teeth related issues and disease they would have.

Constantly Growing Teeth And Dental Issues

The main thing you need to know about guinea pigs’ teeth is they are always growing. As humans our teeth keep on the same size and shape throughout our life time but guinea pig’s teeth can be considered as overgrown teeth because they usually grow 1 to 2 mm per week. There is an interesting reason behind this. Their teeth get worn down by fiber which includes in their diet. Because of that the teeth have to keep growing otherwise the teeth will disappear from its mouth.

Our rodent pet is not the only one who has this kind of teeth which is commonly known as open rooted teeth. Small herbivores such as rabbits, chinchillas and degus also have them though guinea pigs don’t have many teeth as rabbits. A guinea pig has 20 teeth while a rabbit usually has 28 teeth.

These open rooted teeth are excellent at chewing rough fiber in food but the teeth worn out process has to be even and nonstop. If you are a cavy owner you need to make sure that your guinea pig’s diet includes enough plant particles. If not teeth will not wear out appropriately and this could result teeth to grow in the wrong path or too long. Sadly overgrown teeth are not rare and they can create endless dental problem to our little friends so always be aware your guinea pig’s diet when you serve.

In front of mouth, guinea pigs usually have two long slender incisors on both their lower jaw and upper jaw and they also have four cheek teeth. These cheek teeth which are three molar teeth and one premolar are on each occlusal surface at the back of their mouth. There is a slight gap called the diastema in between these areas. When guinea pigs teeth are not able to wear off by chewing enough grass or timothy hay, they could become overlong teeth with the time.

The most general dental disease with guinea pigs is elongation of their cheek teeth. The mandibular incisor tooth is the worst affected when compared to others and they can grow so long and trap the tongue as well. This could cause more health issues as your piggy will not be able to eat properly because this entrapment prevents the tongue from normal movements.

There various forms of dental problem in these rodents such as uneven wear, elongated roots of teeth, dental abscess structure, malocclusion, incisor troubles and the occurrence of spiky spurs which can ulcerate the cheek or the tongue.

How Can You Identify That There Is Something Wrong?

If your piggy refuses to eat or they feel uncomfortable or they likely to be in pain when they eat, your guinea may be suffering from a dental issue. You need to keep an eye always about your piggy’s behavior and pay attention to such distressful signs.

The signs you really need to worry about:

  • Be deficient grooming and untidy coat

  • Weight loss

  • Drooling – you will notice that your guinea pig has a wet chin or lose fur in this part

  • Masses near the jaw area- when the dental issue gets worst, abscess can be developed.

  • Change in food consumption- as they are suffering from dental diseases your pet will find it painful or uncomfortable to have some food. With the time they will favor in softer foods than rough foods.

  • Intricacy in eating – guinea pig will keep dropping food or struggle to eat when they suffer from a dental problem. They may seem troubled when they are trying to have food and they would spend a long time wondering around after they go near food bowl.

  • Reduction of appetite- this is a serious issue to your pet because this would result in dropping the efficiency in their flimsy digestive system.

Can Dental Issues Be Cured?

If the disease is identified early then it can be cured permanently otherwise it will become very hard to deal with.

Many guinea pigs who are suffering with dental issues need to be taken to the regular dental checkups every 1 to 12 months for their whole lifetime.

What Are The Available Treatment Options?

Dental issues can be very hard to comply with for your guinea pig so pay much attention and try to maintain healthy teeth always. When your guinea pig is suffering from a dental problem pain relief options and supportive feeding is crucial for cavy’s well being.

Usually when rodents develop a dental disease long term, there will be a need of regular treatments and disease management.

Treatment options depend on the harshness of the dental issue. For soft cases increasing the amount of grass or hay in your pet’s diet would be sufficient.

In some severe cases, broken tooth or damaged tooth need to be removed. In other serious situations, dental measures under general anesthesia will be required. This could engage the use of specific diamond coated burr to cautiously correct your guinea pig’s tooth or teeth back to the normal length and to the proper angle.

How To Prevent Dental Disease From Occurring?

You always know, prevention is better than cure. Generally, treating a dental disease is much difficult than preventing a dental disease. You might not have a proper idea but still you can check your guinea pig’s mouth time to time and regular examines by an experienced guinea pig veterinarian are highly recommended. This will allow identifying issues such as oral cavity, tooth factures and other major issues early before it’s too late to act.

Diet

A well balanced diet of lots of grass hay is the best method in preventing your pet’s dental disease.

You can include 2 or 3 different vegetables to your cavy’s diet each day as this will benefit in good dental condition, suitable water intake and gastrointestinal function.

It is a better option to include enough vitamin C to guinea pigs diet. Low vitamin C consumption is also a main cause for the development of tooth problems. Vitamin C can be found in some particular guinea pig pellets, vegetables and in separate vitamin C supplements.

Toys

Toys that can chew is another alternative, you can let your guinea pig to chew toy to keep its teeth ground down. These can be anything such as wood pieces, balls, stuffed animals or blocks. You can also shop for chewing sticks in stores if you want to try something new. This will help guinea pigs to enhance dental health and also will keep them away from dental treatment.

Rodents are always like to play with toys so this will keep them entertained as well.

Always be aware not to have toxic items or insecure items in their cages for your pet to chew on. If you offer your cavy a stuffed animal, observe it well to make sure that your guinea pig is not ripping out the toy. In case your pet get the stuffing out by ripping, it could try to eat it and it could be unhealthy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can You Brush A Guinea Pig’s Teeth?

You don’t need to brush your guinea pig’s teeth at home or even cleaned by a veterinarian frequently.

Can I Trim Guinea Pig’s Teeth?

Do not do it by yourself as it could be harmful to your guinea pig as well as to you. You could get bitten by your pet or you could cause permanent tooth loss, pain and you could even break the tooth root if you try to trim your piggy’s teeth. Incisor tooth or molar teeth trimming and shaping should only be done by an expert vet, who will utilize a high speed dental drill or other specialized dental equipment.

Do Guinea Pig Teeth Fall Out?

There are no baby teeth that could fall out or give way to permanent teeth in guinea pigs mouth. Your guinea pig has a set of teeth in front and another set along the cheeks which grows always and they are not supposed to fall out. Even if they do they will grow back with the time.

Further Reading

Here are some tips for caring for your cavie.

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