What do you first see in a pig? Most likely, it is its large snout. And when the pig manages to open its snout, you barely see its teeth. So you may have asked, “do pigs have teeth?”
Pigs have teeth, however not too apparent. When born as piglets, they have baby teeth that look more like elongated needles. Typically, these teeth are clipped. As the pig matures, it starts losing its baby teeth, growing permanent teeth in its place. Ultimately, the mature pig has 44 permanent teeth.
Of course, a pig’s dentition is an exciting topic. More than learning that pigs have teeth, you want to specifically know how many canines, molars, and premolars they have. You also want to know why a pig’s teeth keep growing, why piglets have their teeth clipped, and how boar’s tusk develops.
How Many Teeth Do Pigs Have?
Mature pigs have a total of 44 teeth. The dental formula for pigs is 3/3, 1/1, 4/4, 3/3. This means a mature pig has three molars and four premolars (on the left and right of the upper and lower sections of their mouth), one canine, and three incisors (also in the upper and lower sections of their mouth).
Do Pigs’ Teeth Keep Growing?
A pig’s teeth naturally grow all through its lifespan. This explains why a pig, when born, has its teeth trimmed.
These sharp teeth, if not clipped, can seriously injure the nursing mother, especially as the piglet suckles on her breast. Untrimmed teeth (on a piglet) also pose a danger to its fellow litter as the jostle for their mother’s milk can lead to injuries.
By the time the pig clocks a year in age, the teeth should be trimmed again. After this procedure, an annual teeth trimming regimen needs to be adopted. This is to prevent the pig’s canine from becoming excessively elongated.
Aside from the increased risks of unintended injuries, significantly elongated canine (consequent to the constant growth of the pig’s teeth) can result in the pig drooling excessively. Such long teeth also trigger destructive behaviors in your pig, like constant chewing.
Is It Normal for Pigs to Grind Their Teeth?
Pigs do grind their teeth. However, most of the time, there is a message behind the teeth grinding. Commonly, pigs experiencing physical discomfort can grind their teeth.
Such teeth grinds – triggered by pain – are typically demonstrated alongside a clenching of its jaw. When you see these two signals, inspect your pig for pain and if you can’t decipher the pain source (and the teeth grinding continues), promptly visit the vet.
A pig could also grind its teeth when striving to get rid of an item stuck in its teeth. When a pig grinds its teeth continuously, it could be stressed or in a highly nervous state.
Unsettled pigs – typical of pigs whose routines have been perpetually disrupted – would grind their teeth to show their uneasy state. Teeth grinding can then be a coping mechanism (to get the stress out) for such a pig in a tantrum.
Some notorious pigs would grind their teeth deliberately just to transmit their disapproval with a previous action you had executed. In such situations, the pig may ramp it up from just teeth grinding to teeth clattering.
Yes, this sound is not the most melodious music you want to listen to. In such a situation, you would need to “bribe” your pig with some treats to pacify it and stop the teeth grinding.
Stimulating your pig with some treats would also assuage teeth grindings caused by boredom. Other than treats, a bored pig can be stimulated (to stop the teeth grinding) if you introduce some exciting activity into the scenery. Throwing in some pig toys would do.
Pigs don’t only grind their teeth when bad stuff happens. There are also instances where pigs grind their teeth to show satisfaction and happiness.
This doesn’t sound like the menacing teeth grinding but more like emotional purrs from your pig, synchronized and more soothing to the ears.
When Do Pigs Lose Their Baby Teeth?
Commonly, a newly delivered piglet has eight needle teeth. By the sixth month of age, the milk teeth start getting replaced by the permanent set.
There are cases where the premolars and incisors (of the permanent teeth set) start forming as early as the twelfth week of age.
The permanent teeth could have formed fully in some pigs as early as the eighth month. In some cases, the set of permanent teeth wouldn’t fully form until the pig is a year and six months old.
Do Pigs Have Upper Teeth?
Yes, pigs have upper teeth. As said, a mature pig has a canine and three incisors (in addition to the molars and premolars) in the upper and lower sections of the mouth. This is not easily noticeable, however, as they are not prominently formed.
You may only see the upper teeth upon keener and closer inspection of the pig’s teeth. The premolars and molars are more readily conspicuous at first sight.
How Many Teeth Does a Wild Boar Have?
Mature wild boars have identical dentition as fully mature domestic pigs. Therefore, they have the same dental formula of 3/3, 1/1, 4/4, 3/3.
The only major exception here is that a wild boar – being that it doesn’t enjoy the periodic teeth trimming regimen of the domestic pig – may have relatively elongated canines.
Are Wild Boar Tusks Ivory?
Just like walruses, sperm whales, and hippopotamuses, wild boars teeth contains ivory. However, the ivory tusks of wild boars have comparatively lesser commercial value because they are not big enough.
Are Wild Boar Tusks Hollow?
Yes, wild boars have significantly hollowed tusks. These tusks are enhanced with thin walls.
The tooth socket in the wild boar’s lower jaw houses an estimated two-thirds of the entire length of its lower tusks. The front-facing section of the tooth is plated in enamel. However, the back section is plated in cementum.
What are Wild Boar Tusks Used for?
Commercially, there is not much you can do with a wild boar’s tusk given its smaller size and structural built. But for the wild boar itself, its tusks are a massive tool for self-defense.
A wild boar would dutifully deploy its tusk in stabbing and slashing. Periodically, wild boars sharpen their lower tusk by grinding it against its upper tusks.
How Long are Wild Boar Tusks?
For a wild boar, the average length of its tusk is about 7 inches. This is not definitive as some wild boar’s tusks can be as long as 18 inches while some could be as short as 5 inches.
Traditionally, for a boar in the wild, its teeth would grow by a quarter of an inch in 4 weeks. This explains why wild boars are diligent with their teeth grinding, leveraging the consequent abrasion to check the excessive growth of their tusk.
Do All Wild Boars Have Tusks?
Conventionally, all boars in the wild have tusks being that their teeth are rarely clipped when they were newborn piglets.