Toothless grins…Fun Fact Friday

Did you know…

Ruminant animals (animals that have one stomach with four compartments and chew their cud; includes cattle, sheep, goats, lamas, etc. – will explain more later) do NOT have teeth on their upper jaw?

Well, technically they have premolars and molars in the very back of their mouths on the upper and lower jaws, but no teeth upper front teeth. Instead they have a dental pad, which would be hard, slick surface.

Photos used in blog(Photo: Virginia cooperative Extension)

So how do they eat? Glad you asked! The part of their mouth where the upper teeth would normally be is called a dental pad. When they take a bite of grass they wrap their tongue around it and use the dental pad and their bottom teeth to bite it off.

So how do the young animals nurse you ask… They wrap their tongues around the mother’s teat and use pressure from the dental pad to suck.

cow's mouth 2_edited-6 This is what a cow’s mouth looks like – the dental pad on top and teeth on bottom only! (Photo:

I know, very cool stuff!


5 thoughts on “Toothless grins…Fun Fact Friday

  1. Thank you! Thank you! Dr. Lindsay!
    I just bought a cow (my first cow) to save her from having no grass to eat and being very, very thin.
    I have been feeding her sweet feed and treats. I then put my hand into her mouth (she is so gentle) and she had no top teeth! I have been worried sick all night thinking that she may be old and have no teeth to eat with. I was thrilled to find this article. We have plenty of pasture land and she will be able to enjoy all she wants now.

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