Guinea pig teeth are the first part of your guinea pig’s digestive system. They set the stage for their body to pull nutrients from all the hay your guinea pig eats. Enzymes in the saliva are biocatalysts that start the process of digestion.
The more your guinea pig chews the food, the more time their saliva has to start breaking things down. It all starts with healthy teeth.
How To Keep Guinea Pig Teeth Healthy
Problems with your guinea pig’s teeth may lead to problems with the rest of your guinea pig’s digestive system. It’s a bit like playing dominoes. So let’s get that first domino to stand up strong.
The best way to keep guinea pig teeth healthy is by having them chew plenty of hay every day. And our job as guinea pig parents is to make sure they feel well enough to chew lots of hay and also that they have high-quality hay available that they are excited to eat!
Dental Overgrowth and Misalignment
When a guinea pig isn’t eating enough hay their teeth can grow too long to be comfortable. A guinea pig’s teeth are always growing!
Overgrown teeth can cause misalignment when your guinea pig chews which is very painful. Dental overgrowth can also cut into their gums opening up the possibility of sores and infection. When a guinea pig’s mouth is painful they’ll eat less hay which sets them up for even more dental problems.
Signs of dental issues in guinea pigs:
only wanting to eat soft foods
swelling or wounds on their face
It’s a slippery slope which is why any signs of dental issues need to be looked at by a veterinarian right away to stop the dominoes from falling!
What To Do If You’re Having Guinea Pig Teeth Problems
A guinea pig-savvy vet can trim your little cavy’s teeth and create a plan to prevent dental issues in the future. Some guinea pigs are prone to these problems and may need to see a vet regularly to check on their teeth.
If your guinea pig has an infection they’ll likely be prescribed antibiotics. A vet may also prescribe pain medication if it's needed to get your cavy eating again.
How Long Do Guinea Pig Teeth Get
A guinea pig’s teeth can grow up to 2.9 inches per year. That may not sound like a lot until you look at your cavy and realize that compared to the rest of their mouth… that’s huge!
Healthy guinea pig teeth should be about .5 inches long. So there’s a lot of filing down of their teeth as they’re chewing their hay each day.
It’s actually great that guinea pig teeth grow so much. Their digestive system needs a lot of fiber and if they chewed all that fiber with just .5 inch teeth, one day they wouldn’t have any teeth!
Do Guinea Pigs Lose Teeth?
Healthy guinea pigs shouldn't lose their teeth. However, if there’s trauma or nutritional issues they can lose a tooth. But they will grow a new tooth!
However, loose teeth can be painful so any signs of loose teeth or a lost tooth should be checked out by the vet. It’s a good time for a dental checkup and the vet can help you figure out how to prevent any issues in the future.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Teeth Chatter
Teeth chattering shouldn’t be confused with teeth grinding. Teeth chattering is something guinea pigs do when they’re angry or agitated. It’s a warning sign to give them space. It usually doesn’t mean they are in physical pain.
Teeth grinding is something that won’t be a one-off situation. If they’re grinding their teeth from pain it will happen more often (most likely).
When you hear teeth grinding or teeth chattering, observe the situation. Is there anything going on at that moment to stress out your guinea pig? Are there new cavies or people around? New sounds? If it doesn’t seem like anything is happening at that moment then it could be grinding from pain.
The Best Toys For Guinea Pig Teeth
While their daily hay dose is where most of the chewing and wearing down of teeth will happen, having plenty of chews and toys around their cage definitely helps wear down their teeth as well!
And when those toys are made from hay and other edible materials then the chewing game is on!
Sticks and logs are some great go-to chew toys. As well as mobiles and fidget sticks. Having chew toys around their cage helps keep them curious and active which is also great for their digestive system.
Keeping their enclosure full of natural materials gives them safe opportunities to use their teeth! Natural wood habitat accessories have good corners to chew on as well.
Take Care Of Your Guinea Pig’s Teeth
Healthy guinea pig teeth help keep everything working as they should in a guinea pig’s body. And taking care of them is actually a guinea pig’s main hobby.
The best way to take care of your guinea pig’s teeth is to keep your guinea pig’s environment set up for chewing. The more they use their teeth the better.
And remember, any sign of dental issues needs to be looked at by a vet ASAP. Don’t let the dominoes fall to the point where your guinea pig’s entire digestive system is affected.
We are not veterinarians, and none of our information should be construed as veterinary advice.
Before adding any new product, please consult your exotic veterinarian. If your pet is acting unwell and you have concerns for their well being, please contact your vet immediately.