So be honest with Reeko. How many
times have your parents told you to go brush your teeth? Six time today ?!?! We
all know that brushing your teeth is needed to keep your teeth healthy and white.
If you were an elephant though, healthy teeth would not be a problem. Elephants
simply grow new teeth.
Most mammals, including humans, are born with a set of "baby teeth" that are used
for practice runs before a full set of permanent teeth grow in. The permanent
teeth that replace them are used for the remainder of their lives. Elephants however,
go through six sets of 9lb teeth during their lifetimes, with new teeth growing
in to replace old ones that have worn out.
An elephants starts with two front teeth that fall out after about a year and are
replaced by a set of ivory tusks. These tusks grow about 5 inches per year and eventually
stick out of the elephant’s mouth under its upper lip (you can’t judge their age
by the length of their tusks however because they are continually worn down and
broken during their routine day-to-day elephant activities). Elephants use these
tusks as weapons, to dig up food, and to tear bark off of trees. When polished and
kept clean, they are rumored to be very attractive to the lady elephants.
After the tusks grow in, the elephant grows a pair of teeth in the back of their
mouth. These teeth are large, grinding molars that they use to chew up their food
using a backward-forward grinding action. As these teeth begin to wear out, they
move forward towards the front of the elephant’s mouth. As they move forward, new
molars come in at the back of their mouth. Sort of like an assembly line in a factory
(without all the noise). An elephant may grow up to 24 of these teeth, each weighing
in at about 9 pounds.
Elephants typically have 4 sets of these teeth at any given time. In cases
where the teeth may get stuck and don’t easily fall out, the elephant will chew
on tree trunks and old tires to loosen them up. Once this cycle is complete, and
the elephant can no longer grow any new teeth, the elephant dies from starvation.