Guinea pigs that are well cared for will live a happy and long life. One of the things you need to care for is your teeth. Teeth are tools that the guinea pigs use to bite and chew their food. Most people will only notice 4 teeth, but how many teeth do guinea pigs actually have?
Adult guinea pigs have twenty teeth in all. All of their teeth will continue to grow throughout their life. The teeth will need to be cared for and check regularly. If not, it can lead to losing their teeth, which could affect their health.
Guinea Pig Teeth Overview
Guinea pigs have a total of twenty teeth, but you can only see four of them. The four you see are their incisors, which are made up of two upper and two lower.
The rest of their teeth consist of upper and lower premolars, and three pairs of upper and lower molars. All of these are design to chew their foods.
Unlike most rodents that have yellow teeth, guinea pig’s teeth should be white in color.
How Long Should My Guinea Pig’s Teeth Be?
Guinea pig’s teeth should be between ⅓ an inch and ½ an inch long. If it’s longer or shorter, it could mean there is a problem with their teeth.
The teeth should align together without a gap or overlap.
Guinea Pigs Need Plenty of Hay To Chew
One of their main diets is hay. This grass-like plant is found naturally in its environment. It offers high fiber and low calories, which is the perfect balance for guinea pigs.
The hay is something that guinea pigs need on a daily basis. Not only does it provide nutrients for them, but also keeps their teeth trimmed. As the guinea pigs chew on the hay, their teeth will whittle down.
There are many types of hay to feed your guinea pigs. The best one for your pet is Timothy hay, as it has the highest fiber and lowest calories.
The second best is alfalfa hay. This variety of hay is higher in calories, calcium, and protein. This variety of hay should be fed to them occasionally when they need a boost in nutrition.
The third is clover hay. This variety is popular for horses but can be fed to guinea pigs as well. It has an adequate amount of fiber, protein, and high in calories.
Guinea Pigs Teeth Problems
Guinea pigs that are fed the proper diet will usually never have a problem with their teeth.
However, there are times they have problems with their teeth. Below are some of the most common problems:
If the guinea pigs are not provided with hay and other food regularly, their teeth may start to grow crooked or become too long. This is when malocclusion becomes a serious health risk to them.
When this happens, the guinea pig’s teeth and jaw become misaligned. For them, it can become very uncomfortable.
If it’s not treated, the roots may start to grow back into their jaw. This will result in death for the guinea pig.
Maloccluded teeth will cause all kinds of problems for them. Below are some signs of malocclusion in guinea pigs:
- Chewing only on one side of the mouth
- Drooling around the chin and mouth
- Dropping food from their mouth (It will be difficult for them to bite and hold the food in their mouth)
- Picking up food and dropping it
- Constant opening of the mouth
- Discharging from the eye and nose
- Weight loss
Guinea pig’s teeth should grow continuously. If you notice one or more of their teeth is broken, it could mean they are lacking vitamin C in their body.
Vitamin C is essential for bones and teeth to grow and remain strong.
Unfortunately, guinea pigs are not able to produce vitamin C on their own. They will need a constant supply of it each day to remain healthy and keep their teeth growing.
Guinea pigs can also have broken teeth from gnawing on something too hard. Their teeth may break, but they will grow back normally.
Do Guinea Pig’s Grow Teeth Back?
Yes, the guinea pig will grow back their teeth if they lose them due to being broken or an injury.
Tooth loss can be painful for them at first. There are over-the-counter medications that you can give them to help reduce the pain.
During this time, make sure to give them only food that is soft. Avoid giving them pellets for the time being. As for hay, you can continue to give them as it’s soft and won’t cause their teeth any issues.
Also, make sure to provide them food with plenty of vitamin C to help their lost tooth grow back quickly.
Once their tooth grows back, you can begin to feed them pellets again.
What Can I Do to Keep Their Teeth in Check?
Guinea pigs have a trait that helps them keep their teeth from growing too long and prevent malocclusion. This trait is their love for chewing things. Wooden blocks (untreated wood only) or other items specifically made for guinea pigs to chew on. This will keep their teeth wear down and maintain a healthy length.
Guinea pigs have a total of 20 teeth in all, but only 4 of them are visible. It’s important to keep their teeth in good health by feeding them a proper diet, especially food that is high in vitamin C.