At a glance, or sometimes even with a hard look, it’s difficult to tell whether or not bearded dragons actually have teeth and as they are part of the reptile family you might wonder whether or not they have any concealed teeth (or any teeth at all).
Bearded dragons do have teeth and while they are often very small and barely visible, they are actually quite numerous. Most bearded dragons will have a combination of acrodont and pleurodont teeth and will have up to 76 teeth in total.
As bearded dragons become more popular as pets it’s important to learn how to properly care for them. While wondering whether or not bearded dragons actually have teeth is just an innocent question, the answer has a number of factors that you should be aware of as an owner.
In this article, we’ll not only cover the fact that bearded dragons do have teeth but also how to properly care for them as an owner.
Bearded dragons have a combination of acrodont and pleurodont teeth. Acrodont teeth can fall out as a result of a bang to the head, having a diet high in soft foods, or through disease and once these teeth fall out they cannot grow back.
Pleurodont teeth are connected to the jaw which makes them stronger and better suited for breaking down food.
The front teeth of a bearded dragon are not rooted or part of the jaw structure and can therefore be susceptible to falling out as a result of some of the factors we just mentioned above.
The teeth at the rear are connected to the jaw and are therefore much more structurally sound. time a bearded dragon's teeth will lose sharpness and start to blunt as a result of use over the years. This is natural and common to see older dragons with very blunt and worn down teeth.
Infant/juvenile bearded dragons will have teeth from birth and start to develop them whilst they are still inside the egg.
These teeth are needed to grip and break down vegetation and small insects whilst they are young to eat as they do not grow on a mother’s milk like a lot of Mammals and humans do.
A baby bearded dragon will have small but very sharp teeth which will naturally blunt with age as a result of the chewing and eating process over the years.
The number of teeth that a bearded dragon has will vary however, a general average according to leading reptile researcher Scott Hocknull is:
Acrodont teeth - 11 - 14 on each side of the upper jaw and 17 - 20 on each side of the lower jaw
Pleurodont teeth 4 on both the upper and lower day
Proper dental hygiene is just as important for your bearded dragon as it is for yourself and therefore regular checks and cleaning is needed from a vet.
Outside of veterinary checks, you should have a weekly cleaning routine to maintain the quality of your dragon’s teeth and help to prevent decay and plaque buildup.
This video below shows a detailed cleaning process for bearded dragons’ teeth.
To clean your bearded dragon’s teeth, experts say you should use a cotton wool bud dipped in water to gently clean their teeth 2-3 times per week. Do not use a toothbrush as this is too abrasive for their small teeth and will wear them down rather than clean them.
It’s re-emphasizing that regardless of how well you care for your bearded dragon’s teeth throughout its life cycle, their teeth will wear down with age and this is something that is both completely natural but also unavoidable and irreversible.
You might be quite concerned to discover that bearded dragons actually do have teeth and therefore might also be wondering whether they bite as a result.
As with most creatures, a bearded dragon uses its teeth to primarily grip, chew, and breakdown food (insects and vegetation), it doesn’t bite to ‘attack’ and especially won’t bite things that it wouldn't consider to be food like a human.
The exception of course is if a bearded dragon feels threatened then it will bite as a defensive mechanism. As this isn’t the topic of this article we won’t get into the details on this but it’s worth noting that while a bearded dragon can bite, it would only do so if threatened.
While it might seem like bearded dragons don’t have teeth at a glance (especially if you look at an older dragon with worn down teeth), they do in fact have an abundance and combination of different teeth from birth.
While these might be small and barely visible at times, they are actually incredibly sharp and proper dental/hygiene maintenance is needed to keep your bearded dragon’s teeth in the best possible condition.
This is because they can be prone to disease, plaque, and gingivitis all of which can lead to poor health and lower quality and longevity of life so caring for your bearded dragon’s teeth should be a weekly routine.