How to Clean Hedgehog Teeth Easy & Quick!

two hedgehogs with one opened mouth while owner inquires about How to Clean Hedgehog Teeth

Many of us are guilty of neglecting the oral health of our hedgehogs because we focus on more visible areas such as their quills and underbellies. However, failure to provide the right care for their teeth can lead to dental diseases and infections.

This article outlines how to clean hedgehog teeth to keep dental problems at bay. We discuss the best options available for your quill baby so you can take what works for them. We also look into common dental problems that may arise when their teeth are neglected and what to do when you spot signs of abnormal behavior such as chewing difficulties.

How to Clean Hedgehog Teeth

Hedgehog teeth can be regularly cleaned with pet toothbrushes and pet toothpaste which may be swallowed without problems. Dental chews and toys are additional options for keeping your hedgehog’s teeth clean and eliminating bad odors. You can also get their teeth professionally cleaned by a vet.

Many folks only begin to show concern for their hedgehog’s teeth after treating them for dental infections but that should not be the case. Since prevention is always better than cure, maintaining clean teeth right from their first few weeks of life is the wisest option.

What Are The Best Ways To Clean Your Hedgehog’s Teeth?

There are several options available for maintaining clean teeth in pet hedgehogs and a few are discussed below.

Regular Brushing Of The Hedgehog’s Teeth

This might sound surprising but brushing your hedgehog’s teeth is possible and actually one of the best oral health practices vets recommend. Due to the small frames of their mouths, choosing the right size of pet toothbrush can be critical.

Avoid using regular toothpaste because there’s a high probability that your hedgehog will swallow during the brushing which can cause stomach upsets and other problems. Besides, hedgehogs are more likely to resist human toothpaste since they find the taste repulsive.

The right pet toothbrush should have a small tip that can enter their mouths easily and you may have to get 2-3 different designs to figure out which one works best. Take time to clean the molars at the rear end and the additional teeth found on the sides of their mouth.

In the absence of an appropriately-sized toothbrush, q-tips can get the job done by dipping it in pet toothpaste and wiping your hedgehog’s teeth gently but firmly. Pet toothpaste comes with an amazing flavor so cleaning their teeth could be disguised as a tasty treat.

Also, pet toothpaste is designed to be swallowed so do not worry about your hedgehog ingesting it. Use as much toothpaste as possible to ensure their teeth are properly cleaned. Minor signs of bleeding during teeth brushing are normal so avoid panicking unless you notice blood gushing out of the gums.

Dental Chews and Toys

Hedgehogs can clean their teeth themselves with the help of dental chews and toys. There are loads of therapeutic toys available online and in pet stores that could get the job done with minimal fuss.

If you’re unable to brush your hedgehog’s teeth yourself and cannot afford a veterinarian, these chewable toys are the way to go. As long as you get your hands on the right one, the highest standards of oral hygiene can be maintained.

Professional Teeth Cleaning By a Vet

vet can clean the hedgehog's teeth

Professional vet teeth cleaning is recommended even if you practice one or both options discussed above. Your quill baby may have to be put under local anesthesia which comes with associated risks but we believe it is worth it.

Teeth cleaning can be integrated into other procedures that may be conducted on your hedgehog under anesthesia so feel free to have the discussion with your local vet when necessary. This can save your hedgehogs from an extra anesthesia session and related side effects.

How To Improve Your Hedgehog’s Dental Care At Home

Providing the right dental care transcends brushing their teeth and supplying chewable toys. Here are a few additional ways to minimize the risk of dental diseases and infections.

Routine Physical Examination Of Your Hedgehog’s Mouth

How do you know the true state of your quill baby’s dental health when you never probe what is going on in its mouth? Routine physical examination of the mouth is critical to ensuring the highest standards of oral health in your hedgehog.

Issues such as plaque and tartar accumulation can be spotted early for the right course of action to be taken. Most infections start small but early detection could make a huge difference in preventing escalation to abscesses, lumps, and other visible signs of infections.

Monitor Your Hedgehog’s Chew Patterns

Your Hedgehog may not take too kindly to you opening its mouth for physical examinations and in that case, monitoring its chew patterns could be the best option to spot signs of problems in the mouth.

Quill babies typically stop eating when suffering from dental problems due to the pain they have to go through. Even when they manage to eat, chewing could be slower than normal. Changes in their chew patterns should be taken as a cue to seek immediate veterinary attention.

Crunch Diets

crunch diets for strengthening hedgehogs teeth

Hedgehogs enjoy soft cat food during their infant weeks especially after losing some of their baby teeth. Soft foods are easier on their fragile gums at that point and usually minimize the discomfort from chewing.

However, switch to crunchy cat kibble once they grow out of that phase because soft foods often result in large tartar and plaque buildup. Crunchy foods also help maintain good oral hygiene by keeping the teeth and gums strong.

However, avoid feeding diets that are excessively crunchy because the effects can be more harmful than beneficial. You can test for crunchiness during shopping by isolating a piece of the kibble while it remains unwrapped on the store shelf.

Pinch the isolated piece reasonably firmly but not excessively. If the piece does not crumble, that is proof that it is too crunchy for your hedgehogs and should be avoided.

No Metal Drip Water Bottles For Hedgehogs

If you’ve been providing hydration using metal drip water bottles, no wonder your pet hedgehog is always suffering dental problems. These water bottles can often cause cracked teeth resulting in discomfort for your pet hedgehog.

Gravity-fed water reservoirs are the best option to keep hedgehogs hydrated in a safe manner. It can prevent leakages and other problems that may result in flooded cages.

Calcium-Rich Diets

Hedgehogs require good amounts of calcium to maintain strong bones and teeth. Offering diets that contain the right calcium quantities can eliminate signs such as bleeding gums and other dental problems that may cause lots of discomforts.

Calcium is especially critical in baby hedgehogs because it helps with teeth formation and formulation. The right calcium supply also lays the foundation for excellent dental health throughout their lifetimes. However, excessive calcium may result in exposure to lots of health problems including Metabolic Bone Diseases.

Experts recommend feeding diets with a Calcium to Phosphorus ratio of 2:1 to 1:1 to minimize the risk of avoidable health problems. (Source)

Signs of Teeth Problems in Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs can be prone to numerous teeth problems. Fortunately, early detection usually makes a huge difference in the chances of cure. Here are the telltale signs that they may be experiencing dental problems.

Swelling In Your Hedgehog’s Face and Mouth

bacteria indicating bad breadth in hedgehogs

Have you noticed signs of swelling anywhere around your hedgehog’s mouth? That could be evidence of teeth problems. Common areas that may swell include the lips, gums, chin, and jawline, and attempts to initiate physical contact with any of those areas are often met with stiff opposition.

Hedgehogs become less playful when battling dental inflammations and often keep to themselves to avoid physical contact with their human parents. If your playful quill baby is suddenly keeping to himself there’s a high probability of dental problems.

Chewing Difficulties

Signs of swelling in areas like the gums, mouth, chin, and jawlines can make chewing almost impossible. Affected hedgehogs typically struggle to eat even their favorite foods because of the level of pain they typically suffer and urgent veterinary care is the only way to secure the necessary treatment.

Do not hesitate to inform the vet of symptoms you may have observed to speed up the diagnosis and treatment process.

Bad Breath

Hedgehog owners that spend good amounts of time playing with their quill babies should notice changes in their breath. Sudden halitosis or bad breath could be an indication of plaque, tartar, and other dental infections.

Even if you have missed other glaring signs of dental issues, the bad breath should trigger a quick trip to the vet for a full dental examination and treatment.

Loss of Appetite in Hedgehogs With Dental Problems

Loss of appetite is a common side effect of dental problems because hedgehogs that experience pain during chewing will only eat minimal amounts. Weight loss becomes inevitable when this continues and can result in your quill babies shunning even their favorite foods.

Common Tooth Infections In Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs can be susceptible to numerous dental infections and diseases that may affect their health and quality of life. Let’s dive into a few common ones.

Tartar, Plaque & Calculus Buildup

tools for dental procedures in hedgehogs

Tartar, plaque, and calculus buildups are unavoidable if your hedgehog does not receive regular teeth brushing at home or by a vet. They are a combination of bacteria, leftover food particles, and saliva which can be a source of trouble in many ways.

The thriving bacteria populations from plaque and tartar can multiply to invade the hedgehog’s whole mouth resulting in exposure to other infections and diseases. Regular brushing often eliminates the plaque although your vet may need to intervene to clean the tartar and calculus.

Tooth Fractures & Abscesses

Tooth fractures and abscesses are common dental problems in hedgehogs. They are a leading cause of swelling in the mouths and typically result from the buildup of pus around the root of the hedgehog’s tooth.

Tooth abscesses can be a source of debilitating pain and may result in swelling under the hedgehog’s eye or side of the face where the affected tooth is positioned.

Signs of lumps or swelling anywhere in your quill baby’s face should culminate in veterinary attention as soon as possible. The vet could end up removing the affected tooth and cleaning the rest of the teeth to prevent more lumps in the near future.

Do hedgehogs Lose Teeth?

Hedgehogs lose their baby teeth during their first couple of weeks of life. However, the lost teeth are replaced with stronger teeth just like in humans and other mammals. The permanent teeth may also be lost down the line due to poor oral care.

In some instances, your vet could manually pull out a hedgehog’s teeth due to serious infections such as rotten roots. Pulling it out can minimize the risk of the infection spreading to adjacent teeth.

Do Hedgehogs Have Sharp Teeth?

hedgehog opens the mouth to show teeth but Do Hedgehogs Have Sharp Teeth?

Hedgehogs do not have sharp teeth like rodents such as hamsters and rabbits since they are mammals with a teeth structure similar to humans. Bites are less likely to be painful compared to pet rodents that have large incisors with deep sinkage into the human body.

But avoid getting bitten by your hedgehog since their teeth may still be able to penetrate your skin depending on the site of the bite.

Do Hedgehogs Grind Their Teeth?

Teeth grinding is common in hedgehogs and may be a sign of pleasure or pain depending on the quill baby’s overall demeanor. If your hedgehog is eating, playing, and seems to be enjoying life, do not read too much into the loud teeth grinding sounds.

However, moody hedgehogs may be grinding their teeth as a consequence of tooth pain or some dental problem. We recommend arranging a quick trip to your local vet to figure out what is going on.

Conclusion: How to Clean Hedgehog Teeth

Hedgehogs’ teeth can be kept clean by regular brushing with a pet toothbrush and toothpaste to eliminate plaque buildup and bacteria. Providing crunchy food and dental chew toys may also enhance their oral health by staving off diseases and infections.

If you’re unable to clean your quill baby’s teeth for any reason, regular trips to the vet can maintain the highest standards of oral hygiene. But, teeth cleaning at the vet may be conducted under local anesthesia which does not come without side effects.

Your hedgehog’s teeth should always be examined physically for quick detection and treatment of existing infections before it is too late.

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