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Beavers Have Metal Teeth

I once broke my tooth on some toffee my mom made. Every time I see a beaver, I think of that day and wonder how they can gnaw on trees all day without chipping an incisor when I couldn’t even conquer candy.

Since beavers are rodents it’s not too surprising that their teeth constantly grow. This allows them to chew away on their sticks while keeping their teeth, but my guinea pigs are also rodents and I wouldn’t put them up against a log.

Beavers have another trick up their pelts though: their enamel. If you’ve ever seen a beaver’s teeth you’ll know that they appear pretty orange. This is because, whereas other rodents have magnesium in their tooth enamel, beavers have iron. So beavers have orange teeth for the same reason we have red blood.

The iron causes the orange colouring in beavers’ teeth, makes the teeth stronger against mechanical stress, and makes them more resistant to acid. Researchers are using these new findings to look at ways of strengthening human teeth, which gives my dreams of candy-conquering new hope.


@AdaMcVean