Do Bearded Dragons Have Teeth? All You Need To Know

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Aside from being pleasant companions, bearded dragons are quite interesting pets. It’s like subscribing to monthly fun facts and fascinating discoveries as you age with your scaly friend. You may be wondering how dragons manage to chomp on tough-skinned bugs, fight off rivals, or even defend themselves from people who threaten their peace of mind.

The answer is even more interesting than you hoped for, and I have emerged from the rabbit hole with all the facts you’ll need to answer your questions!

Bearded dragons do have rather sharp teeth, but unlike most mammals with actual teeth, beardies have acrodont teeth. Acrodont placements are teeth-like protrusions directly from the jaw bones that are mostly habituated by the Squamata species, and cover a wide range of reptiles including our dear beardies. In total, your bearded dragon has 26 to 38 teeth on their lower jaw, and 20 to 28 on their upper jaw.

In this article, I’ll be discussing all that has to do with bearded dragon teeth, the possible dental diseases, and how to prevent them from troubling your pet. Let’s get right into it!

how to check if bearded dragons have teeth

Do Beardies Have Any Teeth? 2 Safe Methods To Find Out

If your bearded dragon opens its mouth pretty wide and you look carefully and closely at the inside of its mouth, you still may not be able to see its teeth! This is because their teeth are ridiculously tiny, enough to go under the radar of your view. However, if you’re pretty curious and your bearded dragon doesn’t mind the bother, here are 2 ways to check your beardie’s acrodont teeth:

Method 1: Gently Press on The Sides of Its Mouth

With your hands over your beardie’s head, place your thumb and index finger on either side of the edge of its mouth. In a gentle – really careful – manner, apply pressure to these points and your dragon will instinctively open wide. As you do this, lift the skin lining the mouth exactly above the mandibles and you’ll find tiny rows of zig-zag-looking teeth.

Method 2: Lift The Eyelids

Dragons dislike having their view obstructed, and will open their mouths wide in response to this. With clean hands, place your index finger and thumb right above their eyelids and pull upward slightly. This will cause the dragon to open its mouth long enough for you to shift to take a peek at its teeth.

Dragon Teeth Problems: The 3 Lethal Bearded Dragon Dental Diseases

Before I became an expert in bearded dragon affairs, I found it hilarious that beardies require dental care. I had a mental picture of them lined up at the vet to get their teeth brushed and whitened with tiny dental tools!

However, it may surprise you that poor dental hygiene can and will lead to life-threatening diseases that may be irreversible. Which is why I have brought to your notice the 3 most common and horrifying dental diseases to befall a bearded dragon:

Gingivitis – Gum Swelling and Bleeding

Gingivitis is the painful swelling and bleeding of the gums in bearded dragons. This is directly linked to poor hygiene and build-up of bacteria that weakens the protective barrier of the gums. When this happens, your beardie may desist from eating or properly breaking down their food which would in turn lead to digestive problems such as constipation.

Osteomyelitis – Jawbone Disease

Osteomyelitis is an exaggerated manifestation of gingivitis. It prevails due to the infection of the jawbone and can cause the jawbone to be mobile, feeble, or soft. Signs of early osteomyelitis include whitish spots around the gum and incessant swelling.

Periodontal Disease – Jawbone and Teeth Disease

While osteomyelitis is as bad as it can get, periodontal disease is the worst representation of bearded dragon dental illness to exist. This involves the detaching of the row of teeth directly from the mandibles, and this is where it can become irreversible. This disease is usually accompanied by black splotches around the gum, swelling, and bleeding.

3 Major Causes of Bearded Dragon Dental Disease

There are three major causes of beardie dental diseases, and they are as follows:

Excessive Soft Food Choices

Usually, when a bearded dragon’s diet is involved as the root of a dental issue, it’s accompanied with the right composition for proper nutrition. However, you also have to consider the texture of the diet you’re feeding your dragon. Too many soft foods like hornworms will lead to a buildup of plaque that is directly linked to gingivitis.

Way Too Many Sweets

To bearded dragons, sweets come in the form of fruits and too much of this can deteriorate the lifespan of their teeth. Understandably, vitamin C is important to beardies, nevertheless, they should be kept at a minimum – at most twice a week – to prevent tooth or jaw decay from thriving.

Trauma To The Mouth Area

This problem usually happens when two or more beardies are housed in the same terrarium. Beardies can get into nasty fights that could affect the teeth and create an opening for bacteria to feast and play.

how to care for bearded dragon's teeth

4 Ways To Care For Your Bearded Dragon’s Teeth

Fortunately, there are several measures you can take to ensure your dragon stays clear of painful dental complications that could be fatal in the worst-case scenario. Here are 4 good ways to do so:

Feed Your Dragon Crunchy Foods

The more the crunch, the less the plaque. Crunchy foods like butternut squash and dubia roaches are good dental care choices that will assist in breaking plaque and preventing further infection.

Keep The Fruity Meals at a Minimum

As we have discussed, fruits contain an unsafe amount of sugar that can be troubling to your beardie’s teeth and gut health in large amounts. At most, fruits should be fed as a treat twice a week and free from oxalic acid, persin, and extreme acidity. Also, ensure that the sizes/portions you feed your dragon can fit into the space between their eyes so that they don’t choke or take too long chewing the surgery treat.

Clean And Inspect Your Beardie’s Teeth Regularly

Inspecting your bearded dragon’s teeth is highly important to help you keep track of its dental health. Cleaning their teeth with cotton buds is also a good way to break the accumulation of plaque along the line. I recommend inspecting their teeth every two weeks and cleaning them every month as you go.

Note: If there is a hint of fungal infection or plaque, there is a different cleaning measure to follow usually done with chlorhexidine – an antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral solution – only advisable to be used after a proper examination by your vet. This is because, depending on the stage of the infection, a particular dosage and instruction will be prescribed to tackle it– which brings us to our final point.

Visit The Vet For Regular Check-Ups

Veterinary doctors have the best experience in diagnosing and treating your bearded dragon in case of a dental infection. In many ways, the disease could be worse than you think. It’s always the best decision to check in with your vet so that your beardie can have a better and stronger chance at fighting dental diseases.

10 Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore When Inspecting Your Dragon’s Teeth

During a routine dental inspection, here are signs your dragon may be suffering from painful dental diseases and should be given immediate care and treatment:

  1. Bleeding in the gum area
  2. Black spots around the teeth and gum
  3. Swelling of gum
  4. Whitish spots around teeth and gum
  5. Redness of the gum
  6. Sagging mandibles
  7. Excessive secretion of saliva
  8. Loss of appetite
  9. Drowsiness or weakness
  10. Longer chewing and swallowing periods

The Conclusion

You might find it interesting that dental problems related to bearded dragons are more accustomed to beardies in captivity than those in the wild. Well, dragons in the wild eat more of course-textured foods that will continuously get into the gum area and break plaque formation. On the other hand, our pampered beardies may have softer foods over time leading to the buildup of plaque.

After our discussion, you should be able to prevent or identify dental infections and take the right measures in treating the problem. Good luck!

Photo of author

Medi

EL Mehdi (Medi), the founder and voice behind Desired Reptiles. He is a pet lover who loves to discuss about bearded dragons and share the knowledge he gained over time about pet reptiles.