Tooth Talk

17 November 2012

Chimpanzees have 32 teeth. And although chimpanzees have much larger canine teeth than humans, their nr of teeth and their round jaws corresponds to ours. Like us, chimpanzees have no teeth at birth.

Chimpanzee have four types of teeth; incisors, canines, premolars and molars. And when in the forest this Saturday afternoon, Ceasar gave as the full insight into chimpanzee teeth. As he yawned we could spot every single tooth in his impressive mouth.

Ceasar , 13 years, yawning

But if you have such an array of beautiful teeth, how do you keep them in good condition?

In Mahale Mountains NP research has shown that chimpanzees of the M group chew on the bark of the Pignantas Angolensis. Not only does the bark clean their teeth, it also contains a salt they crave. In addition to that our guide Mwiga recently saw chimpanzee Xantip – 14 years – cleaning her teeth by chewing the bark of Azanza Garkceana.

The forest is full of surprises. But I’ll stick to my Oral B.

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