ANSWERS: 2
  • Other animals definitely do have dental problems. In fact, in many carnivores, it may well be the dental problems and consequent inability to hunt which actually kills them. Remember that many animals in the wild die relatively young, before dental problems cut in: animals in captivity typically live 2-3 times longer than their siblings in the wild, long enough for dental problems to become serious. In that sense, humans live "in captivity". That said, modern humans eat much more sugary and fatty food then their teeth are designed to cope with. A natural human diet includes a large amount of raw vegetables, whose residues in the mouth provide much less food for acid-generating bacteria. Even so, cave-men were suffering from considerable wear on their teeth by their mid-thirties.
  • Interestingly, it's the removal of plaque from the teeth that leads to dental issues. What actually happens as plaque builds up on the teeth is that it will calcify, especially around the base near the gums - this is why people in the third world, where dentistry doesn't exist as much, often have their teeth but they aren't aesthetically-pleasing. The same thing happens with animals. By wanting our teeth to be "pretty" we actually allow them to be more susceptible to dental problems. Ironic, huh?

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