Guinea pig’s well being is ensured with healthy teeth. The color of the teeth is an essential factor in keeping a watch. The color of the teeth should be white, but it may be discolored. Teeth discoloration in guinea pig must be prevented and managed. Yellow, brown, or black stain indicates that your guinea pig’s teeth are unhealthy.
A diet rich in vegetables and pellets often leads to teeth discoloration in guinea pigs. Make sure your guinea pig’s diet contains a lot of timothy hay as it can help file down the discolored ends. If their teeth remain discolored, you may need to reach a professional vet to get it trimmed.
Guinea pig’s teeth may be discolored due to temporary staining. There are chances that your guinea pig has ingested something that stains its teeth.
The teeth will become white again after a few hours or overnight. If the discoloration persists, then your guinea pig may risk losing its teeth.
What do healthy guinea pig teeth look like?
Guinea pigs have twenty teeth altogether in the upper and the lower jaw.
Only two incisors in both the jaws are noticeable, the rest of the premolars and molars are present inside the mouth.
They have a pair of premolars and three pairs of molars in each jaw.
Guinea pigs do not have canines. Instead, they have a gap called diastema. It is common in all mammals.
Guinea pig’s incisors are specialized for gnawing. They have open teeth that grow continuously. Their front teeth are so sharp that they nibble anything and everything.
The enamel is white. Their molars are not visible due to fat pads in their cheek. Thus, the vet may use buccal pad separators to gently open the guinea pig’s teeth during the examination of the teeth.
The teeth should not overlap when your guinea pig shut its mouth. Overgrown teeth tend to curl, which must be prevented. Hay grass in the diet is crucial for healthy teeth.
What color should a guinea pig’s teeth be?
Guinea pig’s teeth are naturally white. You need to keep watch on the color of the teeth. The discoloration of teeth is not a good sign and will be followed with dental pain.
Guinea pig’s teeth may look discolored if they have eaten something like strawberries or beets. This discoloration is due to temporary staining and will turn back to its color. In general, the teeth color should be white or pale cream.
Discoloration and temporary staining are easily distinguishable. A sudden change in the color must be temporary staining. A regular check of the teeth is helpful. You must be concerned if there is a gradual change in color.
How to check guinea pig teeth for discoloration?
Guinea pig’s teeth need regular monitoring, but guinea pigs do not like teeth examination. Your guinea pig may not cooperate with you while you look at its teeth.
Guinea pigs use their teeth to protect themselves by biting or nipping. They feel exposed to any danger without their teeth.
The steps to be followed to examine the teeth of your guinea pig in a hassle-free manner are:
- Make your guinea pig feel comfortable and safe and wait till it calms down.
- Hold near the mouth and roll your fingers around it. That makes the guinea pig used to it.
- A Guinea pig may oppose you and even try to bite you. It’s better to stop and try again after some time. A Guinea pig will start to trust you slowly.
- Once it is comfortable and allows you to check the teeth, then lift the upper lip. Do not try to open the mouth as you won’t be able to see the molars.
- Observe the upper incisors that they aren’t dirty and curled.
- The gums also indicate unhealthy teeth and gum disease. The gums should be pink, bright red, or purple shades is not a good sign.
- Lower incisors should be rechecked in the same process.
- After the inspection of the teeth, offer your guinea pig some treat. That will help you to examine the teeth next time.
Note down any changes in the color of the teeth. The discoloration will go away after 24 hours if it is temporary.
Are discolored teeth in guinea pig caused by gum disease
The discoloration of teeth follows gum disease. The gum disease is identified by foul breath. This disease will attack the teeth.
But in guinea pigs, the gum disease is caused due to teeth.
Guinea pig’s teeth grow continuously throughout life. Teeth need to be trimmed and kept in shape.
If not cut, the teeth will grow longer and pierce into the gums. Gums start bleeding, and bacteria can quickly attack open wounds.
The bacterial growth in the mouth will lead to other dental problems. If the enamel is lost, then the roots will be exposed to the germs. That follows with the discoloration of teeth.
Guinea pigs aren’t much concerned with their looks and appearance. In short, a guinea pig can lose its teeth if infected with gum disease.
Guinea pig’s teeth yellow
Sometimes guinea pig develops temporary yellow stains on its teeth if its cage is not clean. They often urinate on the hay grass, which they later eat.
If the teeth aren’t trimmed properly, it may start turning yellow slowly. The discoloration is prominent as the teeth grow longer, and soon it may be a problem as the teeth grow continuously.
Unhealthy teeth are often due to unhealthy eating habits. If your guinea pigs show discoloration of teeth, then observe its eating habits.
The guinea pig may start avoiding timothy hay compared to pellets. But timothy hay is an essential part of the diet, so pellets should be removed from the diet schedule. Hay is necessary to keep the teeth clean and trimmed.
Hay is a rich source of fiber. Guinea pig needs to chew timothy hay for a more extended period. That helps to file the teeth and keep them straight. Pellets being softer than hay doesn’t provide the same benefits.
Once the teeth start discoloration, the guinea pig won’t like to have timothy hay. The guinea pig will have mild pain if they have yellow teeth.
Guinea pig is not interested in eating timothy hay because of the pain. So, you should think of some innovative ideas to feed your guinea pig with timothy hay.
Alfalfa hay mixed with timothy hay can be a better choice as pellets are usually made of alfalfa hay. The mixture should be of the ratio 90/10 with more content of timothy hay.
The guinea pig will be attracted to eat the hay as it will have some similar taste with the pellets. Once the guinea pig starts eating, then you can move to timothy hay.
Only alfalfa is not the right choice. Alfalfa is rich in protein and calcium, which causes kidney stones and other gastrointestinal disorders if consumed in vast quantities.
Moreover, alfalfa has low fiber content, which is an essential requirement for trimming the teeth.
Guinea pig’s teeth brown
Your guinea pig is often found with brown stained teeth. That is common among guinea pigs because they have a habit of eating their fecal pellets.
You may feel gross learning about this habit, but these fecal pellets are a good source of nutrients for guinea pigs.
You must be worried about your guinea pig if the brown stains on the teeth persist for a longer time. The roots may be exposed as the teeth overgrow.
Guinea pig is having a dental problem. The Guinea pig will suffer from extreme pain, and it won’t be able to drink or eat quickly. Further, it may also lead to gum disease.
The tooth needs to be trimmed. There is a possibility to save the tooth if cut earlier, or it is more likely to be removed completely. The removal of the tooth is required to stop further spread of the disease.
Removal of the tooth is a hard decision to be taken. Incisors are essential for eating for most of the animals.
Interestingly, guinea pigs can eat without incisors, but they cannot eat without molars. The food served to them should be chopped into smaller pieces.
Guinea pig’s teeth black
Guinea pig having black teeth is not at all a good sign. Black teeth indicate that the enamel is lost, and teeth are infected or vulnerable for infection.
That should be treated as a medical emergency for your guinea pig. Your guinea pig must be suffering from pain and under stress.
You need to remove the infected tooth. That is the most reasonable solution. Any delay in the cure will worsen the situation for the guinea pig.
The Guinea pig will be subjected to other health problems if the black tooth is not treated.
Though the black teeth are not developed very soon, you can identify the problem earlier if you do regular inspections. Early detection of the problem helps to prevent it from getting worse.
The very instance of black stains on guinea pigs teeth should alert you about its diet. You need to cut down sugary food.
Guinea pigs often have sweet teeth that they like eating sweet food. The guinea pig will enjoy eating sugary fruits and vegetables.
But this food will affect the teeth severely and remove the enamel from the teeth.
Maintaining a strict diet of hay is essential for a few days. You need to check such treats strictly.
Teeth repair themselves while they grow. After some time, you can again start the sweet treats if the teeth show improvement.
How to remove discoloration of guinea pig teeth
Guinea pig showing a discoloration of teeth can be treated at home. You should remove pellets and fresh food from the cage of the guinea pig. Hay is the best thing to be eaten for a few days.
The change in the diet will help guinea pigs remove the discoloration of the teeth. It is okay if guinea accepts the change.
If the guinea pig is suffering from dental pain, then it may avoid eating hay. You need to try hard to make it eat hay and visit a vet to alleviate the condition.
Trimming of the teeth is required to reduce discoloration. If the guinea pig does not have enough hay, then trimming the teeth by a vet is recommended.
The vet will trim the teeth using tools. Painkillers may be prescribed if required. Guinea pigs having gum disease need to be treated with antibiotics.
Grazing hay all day helps guinea pigs to restore the original shape and condition of the teeth.
Chewing hay trims the teeth and also minimizes the discoloration of teeth.
The Guinea pig will be glad to chew hay throughout the day once it is relieved from the pain.
How to stop your guinea pig’s teeth from yellowing
Timothy hay is the best thing a guinea pig can have to keep away dental problems. The right food is essential for dental care. So, make sure the guinea pig has an unlimited supply of hay.
Chewing hay helps a guinea pig to file down its teeth. Regular trimming prevents the yellow discoloration of the teeth. Hay does not rot inside the mouth as it is pure fiber.
You can try a few other items if needed. Put a few sticks or chew toys inside the cage. Tree branches are also helpful.
Guinea pigs enjoy eating hay when they are playing. Some innovative ideas are useful in removing discoloration and preventing guinea pigs from chewing any dangerous item like electrical wires.
Calcium is essential for guinea pigs to keep the teeth strong. So, you need to keep a balance of fruits and vegetables also in the diet.
Again excess of calcium will be harmful.
Spinach, cilantro, etc are also a good source of nutrients, but too much of it consumed is also detrimental. Fruits and sugary food that have high sugar content should be avoided and if given only once or twice a week.
Sources: Guinea Pigs–And their Teeth, Dental Disease in Guinea Pigs, Dental Diseases in Rabbits and Guinea Pigs, Petmd, Dental Disease and Periodontitis in a Guinea Pig