A hamster’s teeth are among its most distinctive features. It’s also impossible not to notice them, especially since hamsters have very yellow teeth.
Humans are conditioned to believe that any tooth color other than pure, brilliant white is unhealthy, but this isn’t the case. The normal, healthy color for adult hamsters’ teeth is yellow, bordering on brown.
The color is caused by the enamel that coats the incisors. It’s more concerning if the hamster’s teeth are bright white because this indicates a lack of enamel coating on the teeth.
Always monitor a hamster’s teeth closely, as they’ll reveal much about its health. While yellow teeth aren’t the only sign of robust health, this color is seen as a positive.
Are My Hamster’s Teeth in Good Condition?
Hamsters’ upper and lower incisors constantly grow throughout their lives.
They keep their teeth at the right length by gnawing on abrasive items. This enables hamsters to file down their teeth, preventing them from growing too long.
Other signs a hamster has healthy teeth include:
- An even length of the upper and lower incisors.
- No sign of blood on the teeth or around the mouth.
- Willingness to eat food.
Another sign of healthy teeth is when they’re yellow.
Should a Hamster’s Teeth Be Yellow?
Some owners are surprised to learn that yellow teeth signify good oral health.
As mentioned, that’s because the yellowness of a hamster’s teeth is an enamel coating. The older your hamster is, the deeper the shade of yellow should be.
The purpose of enamel on a hamster’s teeth is comparable to that of humans. It offers a strong layer of protection, ensuring that any gnawing behavior won’t lead to broken teeth or other oral complications.
The Journal of Dental Research explains how the oral tissue of hamsters degenerates with age. This applies to teeth, which can grow brittle toward the end of a hamster’s life expectancy.
A healthy hamster over 18 months of age should have dark yellow teeth. Some owners can age a hamster by checking its teeth. So, it’s a negative sign if an older hamster has pale, white teeth.
Unlike in mammals, a hamster’s yellow teeth aren’t due to staining.
Hamster’s Teeth are Orange
It’s unlikely that a hamster’s teeth will have too much enamel.
The level of protection found on a hamster’s teeth will align with its oral habits. Something else is afoot if the hamster has unique staining on its teeth, such as an orange shade.
This may be harmless staining caused by what your hamster has been eating. Consider hamster muesli, for example, which has various shades of fruits and nuts.
Equally, many hamsters hide their food within the substrate, acting upon a wild instinct to forage for nourishment. A hamster may chew and ingest straw or sawdust, which could stain the teeth.
However, orange staining could have a more concerning explanation. For example, blood in the mouth. The Journal of Cellular Biochemistry explains how this could be due to a malignant tumor.
Oral bleeding isn’t normal in hamsters. If you observe any warning signs of this issue, especially when coupled with an uncharacteristic loss of appetite, seek advice from a veterinarian.
Hamster Has Bright White Teeth
If an adult hamster has bright white teeth, it could be due to periodontal disease. Alternatively, the tooth may have been broken, cracked, or have cavities.
Cavities in hamsters are known as dental caries. Dental cavities often arise due to excessive sweetness or carbohydrates in the diet. Left untreated, caries can lead to abscesses and tooth loss.
If your hamster doesn’t have dental caries, check for broken teeth. If the hamster hasn’t been able to gnaw regularly, its teeth can grow long, brittle, or misaligned, resulting in cracks in the tooth.
If the root remains in place, the tooth and enamel will regrow. This takes time, and your hamster will be uncomfortable until the process concludes.
No enamel means brittle, weak teeth that can be easily compromised.
How Do You Clean a Hamster’s Teeth?
Yellow teeth in hamsters aren’t a sign of poor oral hygiene. So, you don’t need to clean a hamster’s teeth if they appear yellow.
If you’re concerned about your hamster’s teeth, you shouldn’t brush them. Forcing a toothbrush into a hamster’s mouth will cause discomfort and distress.
More importantly, the fluoride found in toothpaste is toxic to hamsters. As per the Archives of Oral Biology, this can lead to bacterial infection or dental caries.
Food and Treats
Diet is the single most crucial aspect of tooth care for hamsters.
When selecting dry food, avoid ground or mashed ingredients. The lack of something for a hamster to sink its teeth into will lead to overgrown teeth in the longer term.
Consider the treats you offer a hamster, as most will gravitate toward sweet tastes. Unfortunately, simple carbs can wear away the enamel, exposing the vulnerable parts of the teeth.
Most pet shops stock chewy sticks for hamsters, which balance an appealing taste with the ability to chew. Also, consider offering the hamster plain dog biscuits, as they won’t contain anything harmful, and the hamster will enjoy the challenge of chewing through a treat.
Life can be dull for a hamster in a cage, so you must provide stimulation and enrichment.
Climbing frames and running wheels are vital sources of hamster entertainment, but gnawing and chewing are just as critical.
Wood is the best material for hamster toys. Any pet store with a small animal or rodent pet section will provide an array of wooden toys and ornaments for a hamster’s home.
Hamsters enjoy novelty, so move things around occasionally and offer new toys at least once per week. If the hamster is unsure about approaching these new additions, apply an appealing taste or scent.
Find some wood outdoors to avoid spending money on toys for your hamster. Sturdy branches and twigs are okay for chewing, but sanitize them in boiling water and baking soda first.
Many hamsters chew on their cage bars, which can signify boredom, but most will do it regardless. While this can wear down a hamster’s teeth, it can signify that it needs more fun and enrichment.
If you’ve ever wondered if a hamster’s teeth are supposed to be yellow, the answer is that they should be this way. White teeth in hamsters signify periodontal disease or dental cavities (dental caries).