Shark’s teeth are truly fascinating. Sharks have been living on Earth for 400 million years so they’ve had a long time to perfect their awesome jaws. When they die, the teeth fall to the bottom of the ocean to be covered in sandy sediment and become fossilized over the course of about 10,000 years. This means that people have made some amazing discoveries and shark teeth collecting is a popular hobby. Shark teeth can be pretty valuable, especially if you find a megalodon shark tooth, which was a pre-historic monster of gigantic proportions. To put it into perspective, an average Great White can be between 2 and 6 metres but a megalodon was 18 metres! So let’s take a look at what makes shark teeth so impressive:
Sharks typically lose at least one tooth per week. Imagine how many trips to the dentist that would mean for us? For General dentistry Leicester, visit http://www.sjrdental.co.uk/general-dentistry/. They lose these teeth when they become stuck in prey and forced out. Shark teeth are not attached to gums and roots like human teeth are.
Sharks have a staggering 15 rows of teeth in each jaw! A new tooth will grow back within a day of losing one. They are arranged in neat conveyor belts and a bull shark has 50 rows! Shark teeth are often found as beach treasure because they shed 1000s of teeth in a lifetime. After a shark dies, its teeth will remain and fossilize in the sea bed. These fossils are not white like teeth as they have been covered in sediment for around 10,000 years.
The most commonly found shark teeth fossils are from 65,000 years ago and Venice, Florida in the Gulf of Mexico is known as the ‘shark tooth capital of the world’ because of the sheer number of fossils found there.
Sharks teeth don’t grow like humans but they are born with complete sets of teeth and swim straight away from their mother to fend for themselves. The shape of the teeth is very dependent on the diet of that particular type of shark. For example, the Shortfin Mako has razor like teeth for tearing into flesh. The Tiger shark has piercing teeth to cut flesh and the Zebra shark has dense, flat teeth for munching on mollusks.
The tooth of the pre-historic megalodon ranged from a staggering 3.5 – 7 inches long and weighed more than one pound each! Shark teeth were recently found to contain fluoride, which is the substance that we add to water and toothpaste to protect and strengthen our teeth. As a result of this, sharks never seem to suffer from cavities! Similar to humans, the inside of shark teeth contains a soft mineral called dentin and the costing of their teeth is also acid resistant and less water soluble than our own.
Unexpectedly, shark and human teeth are equally as hard and sharks should always be treated with the utmost respect as their teeth can cause some nasty injuries to our flesh!