Do Elephants Have Teeth? (All You Need To Know)

Elephants are considered to be the largest animal on land. They have unique features like their trunks and their tusks but do elephants have teeth? Let us find out.

So do elephants have teeth? The answer is yes, they have. Elephants have twenty-six teeth in total, and this includes the two upper incisors or the tusks, the twelve molars, and the 12 premolars or non-permanent teeth similar to the baby teeth.

Elephants’ weight is between one thousand eight hundred and six thousand three hundred kilograms. Females are a little bit smaller than male elephants. 

Elephants have a lot of unique features. They have their tusks, and they also have their trunks. The trunk of the elephant is a continuation of their nose and their upper lip. 

The mouth part of the elephant remains a mystery to most people because you cannot see what it is inside their mouth. Elephants do not often open their mouth and flaunt their teeth. That is why many people ask if elephants do have teeth. 

So today, we will talk all about the teeth of the elephants. Let us get started.

Do Elephants Have Teeth In Their Mouth?

Yes, elephants do have teeth in their mouths. They have twenty-six teeth in total. Their teeth also have two upper incisors or most commonly known as tusks. 

They also have twelve premolars or non-permanent teeth, similar to baby teeth, and they also have twelve molars. Elephants are often categorized as Asian elephants and African elephants. Asian elephants have smaller tusks, if you will compare it to the African elephants. 

The females also have a much smaller tusk if you will compare it to the male ones. The two upper incisors of the male elephant’s weigh fifty and seventy-nine kilograms.

On the other hand, the two upper incisors of the female elephants can weigh between eighteen and twenty kilograms. There was also a recorded weight of a tusk of an elephant. It is considered to be one of the heaviest tusks that an elephant has. 

It weighs more than one hundred kilograms. The Asian elephants have a long cylindrical ridge on their molars. On the other hand, African elephants have a diamond-shaped ridge on their molars. 

These ridges of the elephants assist them in grinding their coarse vegetation. Most kinds of mammals can change their cheek teeth or their premolars and molars vertically. There will be a new tooth that will develop and will replace the old one. 

A new tooth will replace the old tooth above the upper jaw and from below the lower jaw. While most mammals vertically replace their cheek teeth, the elephants horizontally replace their cheek teeth. The new teeth will start to develop in the rear of the mouth. 

It will then forward until worn out in the front. The molar tooth of the elephant can be about the size of a brick. The molar tooth can also weigh between one point eight and two point zero kilograms. 

The molars of each elephant can be replaced at least six times in its lifetime. The upper incisors or the tusks of the elephants are not permanent ones. A permanent one will replace these tusks if the elephant is about six or thirteen years old. 

The tusks that will grow that will be permanent will grow with seventeen centimeters every rear. The tusks can also reach a length of up to three point five meters. This measurement is for a male African elephant that is already an adult. 

These tusks that you can find in the elephants are deeply embedded in the bone of the upper jaw of the elephant. The tusks have a single nerve, and they are mostly hollow. One-third of this tusk is embedded in the bone. 

The part of the tusk that is embedded in the elephant’s head is used as an anchor. It can be used to dig or be a defense of the elephant.

What Are Elephant Teeth?

The teeth of the elephants include the incisor teeth that are called tusks. Both the male and female African elephant have their tusks. The Asian elephant, on the other hand, has tusks only in male elephants. 

The elephants’ teeth are composed of six sets of cheek teeth, molars, and premolars in the lives of the elephants. If an elephant is born, two or three pairs of cheek teeth will grow in each of its jaws. The last molars can grow up to forty centimeters. 

This is almost sixteen inches long. The weight can also be up to five kilograms or eleven pounds. The last four molars can exist up to sixty years of an elephant’s age.

elephant mouth

How Many Sets Of Teeth Do Elephants Have?

Each elephant has six sets of four teeth all through their lives. The final set will appear if the elephant becomes thirty years of age. There is also an infrequent occasion that there will be a seventh set that will appear. 

One trivia is that elephants can die if they do not have teeth because elephants will starve. If the elephant has no molars anymore, it will be tough for them to eat and chew their food. As a result, the elephants can die from starvation and malnutrition.

Do Elephants Have Canine Teeth?

The two tusks or the upper incisors present in the elephant’s head are known as the upper incisors. They are not canine teeth. So, in conclusion, elephants do not have canine teeth.

Do Elephants Have Bottom Teeth?

Elephants have no bottom teeth. The elephants’ teeth can be found in the inner part and near the elephants’ tusks.

Do Elephants Have Milk Teeth?

On a baby elephant or a calf, the tusks are already present in their mouth, and they are considered milk teeth. The milk teeth are only five centimeters in measurement. When the elephant reaches their first years of age, the milk teeth or the milk tusks will start to fall out.

Do Elephants Have Tooth Decay?

The teeth of the elephants are replaced six times throughout their lives. The molars will be replaced with a new one. Animals may have tooth decay, but the elephants’ teeth are replaced so that any tooth decay will be gone.

How Do Elephants Fix Tooth Decay In The Wild?

Naturally, the teeth of the elephants will be replaced six times during their lifetime. This is a natural way of replacing the old tooth and replacing it with a new one. Naturally, the last teeth of the elephant will go away, which can lead to death because of malnutrition and starvation for most elephants.

Do Elephants Bite?

Yes, elephants need to bite because they need to do that if they want to eat their food. However, if we will talk about elephants biting during a fight, no, they will not do that. The teeth of the elephants are not just for attacking other animals. 

They are not built to be predators and hunters. Their teeth are made for eating food and eating leaves. Their teeth are not made sharp to tear the flesh of other animals.


In summary, elephants are considered to be the largest animal on land. They have tusks, trunks, and they also have teeth. 

The elephants have six sets of molars. These molars are replaced six times throughout their lifetime.


Image credits – Canva

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I'm David, and safari has been my passion since I was a little boy - I grew up in South Africa. I love to help spread knowledge about safari, so let me know if you have any questions. Read more