Since pigs eat so many different kinds of food, you may wonder how a pig chews their food. So, let’s start by answering the question.
Do pigs have teeth? Yes, pigs have teeth. Piglets are born with some of their baby teeth protruding through their gums. These teeth are very short and are called “needle” teeth. Because piglets playfully bite other pigs and can hurt them, pig caretakers often clip and remove them.
In this article I further explain some of the details when it comes to the dental anatomy of pigs.
How Hard Can a Pig Bite?
Pigs may become aggressive and bite their human handlers. They appear to do so when they are frightened, but pigs who have not been properly trained also bite humans.
Pigs kept as pets are less likely to bite because they have become accustomed to humans and come to trust – or at least not to fear them.
A pig’s bite is very forceful. For example, wild boars have been noted to break the bones of animals they attack.
Domestic and potbelly pigs have been recorded as biting with 200-300 pounds of force per square inch.
As a source of comparison, this is as forceful as the bite of a Rottweiler or a Doberman Pinscher.
If a pig bites you, it can be a serious situation.Pig bites are potentially very infectious.
If a pig bites you, you should:
1. Wash the bite area with soap and water.
2. If the area is bleeding, put pressure on the site with a sterile dressing or piece of clean cloth.
3. If the bleeding continues, raise the bite area above the heart level – if possible.
4. When the bleeding stops, you should put antibiotic ointment on the area and cover it with a band-aid.
5. If there is pain from the bite, Tylenol or Ibuprofen can be given
Go to the doctor for help if:
1. The bite is from a wild or stray animal
2. You don’t know if the animal is up to date on their rabies shots
3. If the animal was acting strangely when it bit you
A person who has been bitten should also go to the doctor if:
1. The bite broke your skin
2. The bite is on the head, neck, face, hand, foot, or near a joint.
3. If the person who received the bite is not up to date on their tetanus shots, they will need to get them. If the person who was bitten is initially fine but later, the bite area becomes red, warm, and painful, they should go to the doctor.*
How Many Teeth Does a Pig Have?
Adult pigs have 44 teeth. Those teeth give them the ability to chew food of almost any consistency.
Do Pigs Have Sharp Teeth?
The tusks (canines) of pigs are very sharp. These tusks can become too sharp and injure the pig, so pig handlers must take the pig to a veterinarian to have them removed or trimmed.
Pig handlers should not try to trim pigs’ teeth by themselves because if they are improperly cut, it could result in breaking, fracture, or infection.
Do Pigs Have the Same Teeth as Humans?
Although pigs have more teeth than humans, the order and structure of the teeth are very similar.
Pigs teeth and human teeth are both coated on the outside with a substance called enamel. This is the hardest substance in the bodies of both pigs and humans.
In both humans and pigs, the roots of the teeth are under the gums.
Also in both, the inner part of the tooth is called the dentin. It surrounds the pulp cavity at the middle of the tooth.
Dental Anatomy of Pigs
As piglets grow, they develop 28 baby teeth: 12 incisors, four molars, and 12 premolars. While they are still young and their entire diet is milk, they don’t use their teeth often. But, as they grow, they will start to eat solid food and use their teeth.
Adult pigs have 12 incisors (teeth in the middle of their mouths.) Six of those incisors are on the top of the mouth; six are on the bottom.
The first pair of incisors is directly in the center of the pig’s mouth. The second pair flank the central incisors: one of them is on both sides of the first pair.
The third pair of incisors flank the second pair, but there is a gap between those two teeth, and the third pair is a bit further back in the mouth.
The next teeth are canines. They are on each side of the third pair of incisors. In pigs, they are called tusks.
They are large and sharp. In boars, the tusks can sometimes curve into the pigs’ flesh. These tusks help the pigs devour larger meals, and they also help to keep enemies away.
Male pigs will use their tusks to establish dominance within the herd.
After a large gap called the diastema, the next four teeth on each side of the canines are called the premolars. There are eight premolars on the top of the mouth and eight molars at the bottom of the mouth.
The molars are the last teeth on both the top and bottom of the mouth. They are the largest teeth and provide the most help when grinding food and chewing it.
There are six molars on top and six on the bottom. Grinding food is easy because molars’ tops have irregular chewing surfaces.
Conclusion: Do Pigs Have Teeth?
Pigs have teeth. Piglets are born with their first teeth protruding from their gums. Piglets eventually grow 28 “baby teeth,” which they lose. Adult pigs have a total of 44 teeth. The order of the teeth in a pig’s mouth is similar to the order of human teeth.
Pigs’ teeth are very sharp – especially the canines (also called “tusks”.) Pigs can bite, and their bite is forceful.
If a pig bites you, it could cause an infection. The area of a bite should be cleaned, and you should go to a doctor if the bite is from a pig without rabies shots – or if you are not up to date on your tetanus shots.