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The Anatomy of Alpaca Teeth

The Anatomy of Alpaca Teeth
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The alpaca is a camelid native to South America. It was domesticated thousands of years ago and remains a valuable economic asset in nearly any part of the world where they have been imported.

Though, the species has not adapted perfectly to every land it has been moved into, they do have certain assets that allow them to adapt reasonably well to most climes. Among these assets are their teeth. But the anatomy of alpaca teeth is a matter of some complex biological data that creates the nuanced world that is the study of human and animal dentation.

Alpacas have the same number and type of teeth as their nearest living relative, the llama. Both species were domesticated from wild camelids (a line of hoofed mammals most closely related to modern camels) that once roamed South America but have since gone extinct, likely due to human activities in the region.

These very specific types and usages of teeth go back around 25 million years before the wild camelids of South America were domesticated and bred into the alpacas and llamas of today. For their part, alpaca teeth are distinct from llama teeth in that their front incisor teeth have very little or no enamel at all, meaning that their front teeth will grow well into adulthood, oftentimes requiring delicate tooth trimming to keep the animal capable of eating.

Alpacas have three kinds of teeth as determined by a specialized biological formula for distinguishing between teeth known as a dental formula. This formula tracks and compares the subtle differences between the teeth of both individual animals and entire species of animal. In the case of alpacas, there are three distinct overarching formulas to create three basic kinds of teeth; incisors, canines and molars.

The incisors of an alpaca are intended to chop vegetable matter off the plant and allow the alpaca to remove the vegetation and then chew it up. These incisors are biologically programmed to wear themselves down through regular chewing of food.

An alpaca also has six molars in both jaws, which the species uses to pulverize its food, as well as chew the cud that comes up from its stomach. Both of these functions are essential for the alpaca to be able to actually digest what it cuts off with its incisors.  The canine teeth are mostly prominent on male alpacas, and are used to bite and rip into flesh in combat.

Believe it or not, dental care is a real thing when it comes to Alpacas. Recent advances in technology have allowed animal lovers to extend dental health to their beloved animals. And, Alpacas are no different.

Flossing is not something too many animal owners do. But, it is a possibility nowadays. There are water flossers powerful enough to floss animal teeth. A few companies have been developing those. You can read more about it at http://dentaldorks.com/best-water-flosser-reviews.

Dental Dorks offers a lot of useful information about dental care.