Many people find it strange when their pet rats show yellow or orange teeth. I sure know I did! It can also bring some worries, but truth be told, this coloring is a very good sign! It means your pet rat has very healthy teeth.
So why are your pet rat’s teeth yellow or orange? It’s mostly due to their enamel being very hard. Since pet rat’s teeth are essential for survival, their enamel (a protective layer that surrounds the teeth) has extra properties that keep their teeth from breaking.
But there’s quite a bit more to it than this! In this post I’m going to go about it as well as why can pet rat’s teeth turn white and what to do in that case, so follow me!
Why Are Rat Teeth Yellow Or Orange?
You might’ve noticed that pet rats teeth are very yellow, maybe even orange. This is a sign of good health!
Usually, the upper incisors are dark yellow, almost orange and the bottom ones have a lighter yellow pigment. This is due to the fact that the enamel of their teeth is orange, as opposed to us, which is white.
We use our teeth when eating and that’s mostly it. On the other hand, a pet rat’s teeth are very important. They use it not only to eat but to open up ways or obstacles for example. For this reason, it’s more than normal that their teeth need to be stronger than ours.
The reason why it’s orange, it’s most likely because the enamel has more minerals, making the teeth harder. I would also like to point out that this enamel layer only covers the front of the teeth. This probably serves not only as a gnawing mechanism but also as a defense, so they won’t break easily when chewing on things!
Pet rats spend most of their time gnawing. For that reason, their incisors never stop growing. That’s why it’s so important for your rodent friend to always have something to gnaw on. Be it either through food or toys.
If for some reason, the pet rat stops using their teeth properly, they’ll keep on growing. The teeth actually start creating an arch and grow into their mouths. This can make it very hard for them to eat and even wound their mouths.
Most of the times this happens when a pet rat develops an abscess in their mouths. If not treated quickly, the mouth itself might deform in a way that the teeth can’t grow nor be used properly.
This can be a fairly common occurrence but fairly simple to treat, usually through surgery, if caught early!
Other than that, rat teeth have very low maintenance as long as they have crunchy food to gnaw on and other toys to chew on! As long as they look very yellow or even orange, then there’s no need to worry, it means your rattie is in perfect health!
What If My Pet Rat’s Teeth Is White?
Baby rats start out with white teeth since they’re still in development and don’t use their teeth a lot. At about 21 days, the upper teeth start to look yellowish and then, at about 38 to 40 days, the teeth look fully orange and yellow.
If you have an adult pet rat and their teeth are white, that means that something might be wrong! Sometimes it can be something very uncomplicated, like some deficiency on their diet. A few supplements or vitamins along with new food or reinforced diet should be enough.
Other times, it could mean they have some kind of sickness. If your pet rat is on some kind of medication, those could also be responsible for the lack of color.
Either way, it is really important to take your pet rat to the vet if you notice that their teeth are white!
As I said, that could be happening for a lot of reasons and it’s hard to pinpoint which is. A veterinary will most certainly know better how to approach the situation along with the perfect solution.
What To Do If Your Pet Rat’s Teeth Aren’t Orange Or Yellow
Again, taking your pet rat to the vet is the best course of action. Maybe they’re just not getting enough vitamins and other nutrients from their food. Maybe it’s something a bit more complicated.
Always be sure that your pet rat has a balanced diet and has chewing toys to play with. Chewing is very important to keep their teeth healthy.
Believe me, they’ll chew on anything, so better to give them toys so they won’t start chewing important furniture or objects you have at home!
If you start noticing a slight discoloring of the teeth, start giving them more fresh fruit and veggies. I usually recommend buying pellet food for pet rats, like the Oxbow Essentials, since those are the most nutritious ones. But it’s always important to supplement that with fresh food.
Pet rats can eat almost anything that is fruit or vegetables, even some meat and eggs are quite good for them. You should avoid citrus since those are bad for them. But I won’t leave you hanging!
I have here a whole list of 13 healthy treats that you can give your pet rat. All of these are great for them and will help keep their teeth healthy.
Nevertheless, be sure to take your rodent friend to the vet if you notice their teeth are white or are starting to show some discoloring. Again a professional will most certainly help you better and even recommend some medication to help the rattie get better in no time!
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