Yes, bearded dragons have teeth, but they are not the same teeth that humans or other mammals have. Bearded dragons have small, conical teeth that are used for gripping and tearing food rather than chewing it. They have teeth on both their upper and lower jaws, which are replaced throughout their lifetime as they wear down or fall out. However, bearded dragons do not use their teeth to chew food.
Types of Tooth Damage to Bearded Dragons
- Tooth wear: Bearded dragons’ teeth are constantly being replaced throughout their lifetime, and they can wear down over time from everyday use. This natural process is usually a cause for concern if the teeth become excessively worn or damaged.
- Tooth fractures: Bearded dragons’ teeth can become chipped, cracked, or broken if they bite on something hard or sustain a blow to the face. This can be painful for the dragon and may require veterinary attention to prevent infection or further damage.
- Tooth impaction: Bearded dragons may accidentally ingest small stones, substrate, or other objects that can become lodged between their teeth, causing discomfort or infection. It’s essential to provide appropriate substrate and regularly clean their enclosure to prevent impaction.
- Tooth root abscess: Sometimes, a bearded dragon’s tooth can become infected at the root, leading to a painful abscess. This can be caused by tooth damage, poor dental hygiene, or other health issues. For example, a veterinarian may need to perform a root canal or extract the affected tooth to treat the abscess.
Causes of Tooth Damage in Bearded Dragons
- Wrong prey items: Bearded dragons may damage their teeth if provided with prey items that are too large or hard to bite through. It’s essential to provide appropriately sized prey items to prevent tooth damage.
- Inadequate diet: Bearded dragons require a varied diet that balances protein, fruits, and vegetables to maintain their health. A diet lacking essential nutrients can weaken teeth and make them more prone to damage.
- Poor dental hygiene: Bearded dragons require regular dental care to prevent tooth decay and other dental issues. If their teeth are not regularly cleaned, bacteria can build up and lead to tooth decay or infection.
- Trauma: Bearded dragons can sustain tooth damage from a fall, a fight with another animal, or other types of trauma.
- Genetic factors: Some bearded dragons may be more prone to tooth damage due to genetic factors or health issues.
Preventing Teeth Issues and Oral Diseases
- Provide a balanced diet: Bearded dragons require a varied diet that includes a balance of protein, fruits, and vegetables to maintain their health. A diet lacking essential nutrients can weaken teeth and make them more prone to damage.
- Offer appropriate prey items: Bearded dragons should be provided with prey items that are appropriately sized and easy to bite through. Prey items that are too large or hard can cause tooth damage.
- Practice good dental hygiene: Regularly cleaning your bearded dragon’s teeth and gums can help prevent tooth decay and other dental issues. You can gently brush their teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush, water, or a small amount of reptile-safe toothpaste.
- Avoid rigid substrates: Avoid using hard or abrasive substrates, such as gravel or sand, as these can cause tooth damage or impaction if ingested.
- Maintain proper humidity levels: Bearded dragons require a specific range of humidity levels to maintain their health. High humidity levels can increase the risk of bacterial growth and tooth decay, while low humidity levels can lead to dry mouth and other oral issues.
- Monitor their behavior: Be aware of changes in your bearded dragon’s behavior, such as reduced appetite or reluctance to eat, as these can be signs of dental issues.
- Regular veterinary check-ups: Regular veterinary check-ups can help identify and treat dental issues before they become more serious.
Diet for Bearded Dragon’s Healthy Tooth
Offering a variety of insects can help provide a balanced diet for bearded dragons, as different insects have varying nutritional profiles. Here are some examples of insects that can be included in a bearded dragon’s diet:
- Crickets: Crickets are a common staple insect for bearded dragons and are a good source of protein.
- Dubia Roaches: Dubia roaches are another commonly used staple insect high in protein and easy to digest.
- Superworms: Superworms are more prominent than other insects and can be used as an occasional treat. They are high in protein and fat.
- Phoenix worms: Phoenix worms are small, soft-bodied insects that are high in calcium and protein.
- Black soldier fly larvae: Black soldier fly larvae, also known as calciworms or phoenix worms, are high in calcium and protein.
- Waxworms: Waxworms should be used as a rare treat as they are high in fat.
Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens are essential to a bearded dragon’s diet as they are a good source of essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium. Here are some examples of dark leafy greens that can be included in a bearded dragon’s diet:
- Collard Greens: Collard greens are high in calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
- Mustard Greens: Mustard greens are also high in calcium and are a good source of vitamins A, C, and K.
- Dandelion Greens: Dandelion greens are high in calcium and vitamins A, C, and K.
- Turnip Greens: Turnip greens are high in calcium and vitamins A, C, and K.
Fruits can be a healthy addition to a bearded dragon’s diet but should be fed in moderation due to their high sugar content. Here are some examples of fruits that can be included in a bearded dragon’s diet:
- Berries: Berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, are a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants.
- Mango: Mango is high in vitamin A and also provides some fiber.
- Papaya: Papaya is a good vitamin A source and contains enzymes that can aid digestion.
- Apples: Apples are a good source of fiber and vitamin C.
- Kiwi: Kiwi is a good vitamin C source and provides some fiber.
Calcium supplements are essential to a bearded dragon’s diet as they require high calcium levels to maintain healthy bones and overall health. Here are some things to keep in mind when offering calcium supplements to your bearded dragon:
- Types of supplements: There are different calcium supplements available for bearded dragons, including calcium powder, calcium with vitamin D3, and liquid calcium supplements.
- How often to offer: Calcium supplements should be offered at every feeding. You can lightly dust your bearded dragon’s food with calcium powder or offer calcium in a dish for them to lick.
- Calcium-to-phosphorus ratio: Maintaining a proper calcium-to-phosphorus ratio in your bearded dragon’s diet is crucial. Ideally, the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio should be around 2:1.
- Over-supplementation: Over-supplementing with calcium can be harmful to your bearded dragon. Be sure to follow the recommended dosage on the supplement label and avoid offering too many high-calcium foods, such as spinach or kale.
- Calcium absorption: Calcium absorption can be enhanced by offering a variety of foods high in vitamin D3, such as crickets or Dubia roaches. Additionally, providing your bearded dragon with UVB lighting can help increase vitamin D3 absorption.