Why Do Rodents’ Teeth Keep Growing?

Why Do Rodents’ Teeth Keep Growing?

What are rodents? Rodents are mammals that have extra-large incisors or teeth. Some creatures grouped as rodents include rats, squirrels, porcupines, mice, guinea pigs, hamsters, grasscutters, etc. Rodents are known for their lower and upper pairs of straight growing teeth. But there is a recurring question about rodents that need to be answered in this post. The question is: why do rodents’ teeth keep growing? Read on to find the answers to the question. 

The reason why rodents’ teeth growing

Unlike the human teeth that grow and stop at a point, rodents have incisor teeth that constantly grow without stopping. This is because their teeth are rootless. To prevent the incisors from growing into the rodents’ brains, they have to always crush their teeth against each other. More often than not, you will notice that rodents chew a lot of nuts and bones. They have enlarged chewing muscles that make the jaw work vertically with forward and backward movements. The front surface of the teeth has enamel, while the back has softer dentine. This arrangement makes the constant growing incisors stay sharp even as they get worn off. All the chewing is what helps the teeth to stop growing. It is like cutting the grass every time to prevent it from growing and causing a nuisance.  

Why do squirrel teeth continue to grow?

Squirrels are also part of the family of rodents. They have to chew to stop their teeth from growing consistently. Chewing hard food like nuts and bones helps keep the growth of the teeth down. Apart from squirrels, this also applies to other rodents such as chipmunks, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, beavers, capybaras, and other mammals with long and elongated incisors in their lower and upper jaws.  

Why do rat teeth never stop growing?

Rats are not different from the other types of rodents in that their teeth never stop growing. This is because they have rootless incisors that keep growing without a stop. If the teeth are allowed to keep growing without being checked, it will become impossible for the rate to shut the mouth or even eat. It may lead to death caused by starving. However, the growth of the teeth is kept in check by the constant chewing of food. 

Why do mice have large growing teeth?

Mice are also rodents with the same set of teeth, similar to other rodents like rats and squirrels. Mice have a bunch of teeth all of their lives. Their jaws grow with a single pair of very long incisors that protrude endlessly as far as they are alive. Chewing helps mice to wear their teeth down to a reasonable length.         

What happens if the rodents’ teeth keep growing without stoppage?

If the incisors of rodents keep growing, what will happen is that they will die of hunger. This is because the continuous growth of the teeth won’t let them chew food to stay alive. To explain it better, rodents won’t be able to close their mouth if the incisors keep growing. It will only make eating difficult and make the rodents starve to death. 


I hope we have given a convincing answer to the question: why do rodents’ teeth keep growing. Rodents keep growing their teeth because the teeth are rootless. Constant chewing is what stops the teeth from growing.      

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