What You Don’t Know About Fish Teeth That Might Surprise You

fish teeth

To this day, many speculate if all species of fish even have teeth because some of them do not show any signs of having them. The truth is, however, that all fish have teeth. Yes, not only sharks or piranhas—all of them.

The structure of fish teeth can vary depending on factors like the fish species and their diet. However, we can classify the types of teeth they have like this:

Molar teeth

    • These are mostly for crushing or chewing food, such as little animals like snails or crabs. They’re quite broad and are located in the back of the jaw.

Incisor teeth

    • This type of teeth mostly serves the function of grinding flesh. They are not sharp enough to kill prey but can help by tearing it down. You can find them on the front of the jaw.

Canine teeth

    • You could say that these are the more dangerous ones. They’re very sharp, and their purpose is to grab prey and kill them right away. Most likely canine teeth are the ones you see when a fish opens its mouth, as it is located in the front of the jaw along with incisors. 

Human teeth

    • You read it right. Although It is not a type of teeth, it is more of a kind of denture. Some fish have a human-like structure of teeth. They are also composed of molars, canines, and incisors, but they’re not as sharp. 

In terms of structure, it will depend on if the fish is carnivorous or herbivorous. Carnivorous fish have pretty much all types of teeth, either sharp or not, and herbivorous fish mostly rely on incisors; they can even have their full mouth full of them like a little spiral.

So if you happen to have a fish as a pet, be sure they have tiny teeth as well. And depending on what you feed them, you’ll be able to get a better picture of what their teeth are like.

Some Interesting Facts About Fish Teeth 

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Fish also lose teeth and regenerate them

Studies have shown that different types of fish like the Goldfish or the Cichlids lose teeth multiple times throughout their life. However, unlike us, they can replace them every 50 days. And that is the whole mouth, not one or two, all of them. Can you imagine if humans could do that? Dentists probably would not exist.

Fish don’t really have tongues

Well, they have something like a tongue. It just does not look like ours. The thing is, their tastebuds get mixed in with their teeth. It is usually located at the bottom of the mouth, but it can vary on the type of fish, as always. 

They have teeth on their throat

Fish have teeth in their throat pharyngeal teeth. They are mainly for catching and eating preys, and the way they do it, it’s a little bit disturbing. When fish are going to catch something, the teeth jump out of their throat at the right time, grab the prey and go back inside. 

How Do Fish Teeth Get Cleaned?

Now that you know that fish have teeth, how do they manage to clean them like humans?

Well, there is a species of fish that was specifically born to do it. Their name is Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse. This fish is a yellow and magenta-colored little guy. They kind of are the dentists of the ocean. They provide free dental work to all the fishes that live near and far from their habitat. And even have cleaning stations.

When we want to get a professional cleaning we have to call our dentist. But when fish want to get their teeth clean, they simply become motionless. Spread their find, and open their grill covers. That’s it, that is the signal for the Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse to know they are in need of oral hygiene. 

The Wrasse’s job is to go inside the fish’s mouth and remove any accumulated plaque in between their fellow fish’s teeth as well as debris, parasites, mucus, and dead skin cells. Unlike us humans, these fish are willing to remove any mucus that may have accumulated over the host tongue and even risk their own lives to remove any harmful parasites that may be living in their mouth or near sharp teeth.

Many would think that the Wrasse is at risk of being eaten by carnivorous fish, just like others are. However, the Wrasse knows bigger fish will not eat them because they know that they will not get their annual dental check-up if they eat the Wrasse. That is quite a level of mutual respect.

Because, well, if fish do not get their cleanings, it will create a wide opening for infectious bacteria, parasites, plaque, among other things that can harm the dental work to develop inside of their mouths. This will set those fish at risk of struggling with life-threatening diseases that can prevent them from eating.

This is a valuable part of the entire situation, where the Wrasse can obtain food and eat without leaving their homes. While the other fish get their teeth cleaned as well as continue on living with pearly white chompers.

What Are The Strangest Places Fish Teeth Are Located?

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Humans develop teeth in their mouths to chew; fish do as well but not like humans.

Some of the strangest places where marine biologists have found teeth in fish are the following:

  • Mouth
  • Lips
  • Upper and lower jaws
  • Tongue
  • Throat
  • Extra sets of teeth

Humans only have two sets of teeth, and that’s it.


The great white shark can have up to three thousand teeth all at once. That’s quite the smile, right?; unlike humans, we only have one row of teeth, but great white sharks have five sets of them. We must all try to take care of our teeth; your everyday oral habits are essential to your overall dental health. 

Those who regularly brush and floss should also visit the dentist twice a year, with no exceptions. During those dental appointments, your dental specialist can spot any cavities or calculus that may be developing in your mouth that you may not be able to see. 

Other potential dental issues can be spotted and provide beneficial treatment solutions that you may not be aware of at the time. When a person loses a permanent tooth because of an accident, the best solution for that individual is a dental implant, which can sometimes be expensive. Still, you always have alternatives, like visiting your dentist in Clairemont.

In the meantime, try implementing different but healthy foods into your diet; this will also benefit your entire body and not just your teeth. Dentistry is developing new ways to treat their patients; in case of requiring dental treatment, avoiding or delaying any scheduled appointments in any way can potentially harm your overall oral health. 

Always follow your dental surgeon’s recommendations as these will maintain your smile in tip-top shape and provide not only you but everyone you know with a bright smile for a lifetime. Remember, we can not regenerate our teeth every 50 days as fish do. So, we recommend visiting your dentist regularly. 

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