Tag Archives: shark’s teeth facts

Shark Week-Shark’s Teeth!!!

In honor of Shark Week, I wrote an article on shark’s teeth :-)))


Sharks are born with a full set of teeth.

Our baby teeth form during the 6th-8th week of prenatal development and begin erupting at about 6 months of age. Unlike humans, shark pups enter the world with a full set of teeth and can fend for themselves.

Sharks have lots of teeth.

Our 20 primary, or baby teeth, fully erupt by 2-3 years old.  The adult permanent molars begin to show in the mouth at 6-7 years old, and by age 13, we have 28 permanent teeth. The 4 wisdom teeth start to push out at 17-21 years old.  That’s a total of 20 baby teeth and 32 adult permanent teeth. Most sharks have 5-15 rows of teeth. The bull shark has 50 rows of teeth,  and up to 350 teeth erupted in their mouth at one time!

Shark’s continuously lose and replace their teeth.

A lost permanent tooth is unable to replace itself naturally. Sharks typically break off and lose at least 1 tooth a week. When a shark’s tooth falls out, another spins forward like a conveyor belt from their rows of backup teeth. The dull, broken or worn teeth are quickly replaced by a sharp new tooth.  A shark may grow and use over 50,000 teeth in it’s lifetime!

Both the sharks upper and lower jaws move and it swallows it’s food whole.

We use our teeth to bite and chew food. Sharks have the strongest jaws on the planet and unlike most animals sharks can move both their lower and upper jaws! Sharks use their teeth to grab, hold and rip prey and swallows its food whole.

If there was a Shark Tooth Fairy, they would be rich fish.

According to the 2017 Delta Dental Tooth Fairy Poll of parents of kids 6-12 years old, the average pay out per lost tooth is $4.13. Kids have 20 baby teeth, for a total of $82.60.  For an average shark who loses 20,000 teeth, that would be $82,600!

Shark teeth have cavity protection.

Sharks don’t get cavities; their teeth surface naturally contains fluoride! Fluoride makes teeth stronger and more resistant to bacteria that cause tooth decay. The teeth of humans and other mammals contain the mineral,  hydroxyapatite, which is also found in bone. Fluoride in toothpastes, drinking water and applied by dentists, makes our teeth stronger by interacting with the hydroxyapatite to form the stronger fluorapatite.


Dr. Philip A. Gentry, DDS 
Fellow, Academy of General Dentistry
Dean’s Faculty, Clinical Assist. Professor,
Advanced Education in General Dentistry,
Department of General Dentistry,
University of Maryland School of Dentistry
University of Maryland School of Dentistry