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Dental museum devotes day to animal teeth

A prehistoric shark’s tooth, foreground, is part of ‘Jaws and Paws’ at the National Museum of Dentistry. (DTI/Photo National Museum of Dentistry)
Fred Michmershuizen, DTA

Fred Michmershuizen, DTA

Fri. 14 May 2010


BALTIMORE, MD / NEW YORK, NY, USA: The National Museum of Dentistry plans to hold a special event — called ‘Jaws and Paws’ — dedicated to teaching members of the general public about animal teeth. The family festival will be held Saturday, 26 June. The purpose of the event, according to museum officials, is to better educate people about their own teeth.

“The variety of teeth in the animal kingdom shows us how different animals use their teeth for different jobs,” said National Museum of Dentistry Executive Director Jonathan Landers. “It also teaches us how important it is to preserve our own teeth.”

According to the museum, just as human teeth adapted through time to tear off a chunk of food and chew it, the teeth of elephants, beavers, snakes and lions evolved to perform specialized tasks.

For example, elephants use their tusks — incisors that can weigh up to 150 pounds — as weapons. Beavers use their teeth to cut down trees to make lodges. The fangs of some snakes inject poison into their victims. Lions use their teeth to transport their young, defend themselves, and catch and tear apart food.

The special event will feature experts from the Maryland Zoo. Visitors will be able to see a prehistoric shark’s tooth as big as a baseball glove, and they can explore a special exhibit on the narwhal, an Arctic whale with a six-foot long tooth.

Also on view at the museum are George Washington’s teeth, vintage toothpaste commercials and hands-on exhibitions about the power of a healthy smile.

The museum is located at 31 South Greene St. in Baltimore, a short walk from the Inner Harbor. Admission is US$7 for adults, US$5 for seniors and students with ID, US$3 for children ages 3 to 19; and free for ages 2 and under. The museum is closed Mondays, Tuesdays and major holidays.

More information is available at (410) 706-0600 or online, at


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