How Teeth Vary Based on Diet

Herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores have drastically different diets, and each has teeth made specifically to handle said diet. Read on to learn about how tooth size and shape varies based on the type of diet a species consumes.

mother and baby panda eating bamboo leaves


Herbivores are plant-eating animals, such as deer, elephants, cows, and many more. Essentially, they are vegetarians, subsiding on some variety of veggies, fruits, grasses, grains, and more, depending on that particular animal’s habitat. Herbivores’ teeth are large and flat, ideal for grinding down the plant matter that they eat. The teeth allow these animals to break down the fibers in their diet, making it a lot easier to digest.


Those species that eat both meat and plant matter are known as omnivores. Humans are omnivores, as are bears, racoons, chimpanzees, and more. Although omnivores are open to eating different types of food, their teeth are still specialized to suit their diet. Omnivores tend to have a mix of different types of teeth to accommodate both the meat and vegetables in their diet. Your own teeth are a perfect example, the flat molars in the back of the mouth serve to crush and grind food, where as the much sharper canines and incisors are made to tear tougher food, like meat.


Lastly, we have carnivores. These are animals that subside solely off other animals. Carnivores include lions, wolves, and sharks, for example. Carnivores’ teeth are geared specifically toward obtaining their food, and ripping, tearing, and breaking down the meat. They have strong muscles in their face to help with that, and to help them capture and carry their prey. Sharp canine and incisor teeth aid them in hunting their food, and carnivores typically have fewer molars because they rely much more on the teeth toward the front of the mouth.

We’re Here to Keep Your Teeth Healthy

A healthy set of teeth will serve you well throughout your lifetime, allowing you to enjoy the delicious, nutrient-rich diet of an omnivore. At River Vista Dentistry, we offer a wide range of services to keep your teeth in great shape. Make sure you’re booked for your bi-annual cleaning and exam. If you’re not, contact us today!

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