Portrait of a funny goat.

Nothing is quite as adorable as a baby goat with its cute, lovable face, but one question many people wonder when they look at a goat’s mouth is: do goats have top teeth? In this article, we’ll look at the unique dental makeup of goats and find out the answer to this fascinating query.

Types Of Goats’ Teeth

Goats have a variable number of teeth depending on the species, but they have three types of teeth, incisors, canines, and premolars or molars, which are all located on their lower jaw. The goat’s upper jaw has a hard argument known as the dental pad.

The teeth goats have varied in size and shape. They all have a yellowish hue because goats feed on the grass with high silica content. The incisors on the bottom row have chisel-shaped edges, which are sharpened as they are used.

On the top row, the incisors have flattened chewing surfaces that allow the goat to grind and break down grass more efficiently. The two tiny middle incisors are called “dental pads” and do not have any chewing surface.

Do Goats Have Top Teeth?

The answer is a resounding yes. Goats do have top teeth, which are called dental pads. These pads, while not visible without close inspection, are located the same way they are on humans. They are the front teeth on the upper jaw and are used to nip off leaves and other soft foliage.

The most noticeable difference between goats’ top teeth and those of humans is that goats’ incisors curve slightly forward.

Close up of the mouth of a brown goat

Number of Goat Teeth

Goats have four incisors at the front of their lower jaw, which is used for carving into vegetation. Two canine teeth protrude slightly from the sides of their jaw and are used to grip food. The goats then have twelve premolars and twelve molars for grinding the food.

Goat Teeth Growth

Goats’ teeth continue to grow throughout their life, much like humans. This growth is known as hyperdontia, and adult goats’ teeth can grow very long if they are not trimmed regularly. Most goat farms regularly trim their goats’ teeth to prevent overgrowth and the resulting problems with their nutrition.

The Science Behind Teeth Growth in Goats

To grow healthy teeth, goats must consume a balanced diet rich in phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A, B12, and C.

These essential nutrients, particularly calcium and phosphorus, are necessary for the denticles to form. Without these bodily minerals, the teeth can decay, leading to more significant health issues.

Environmental Factors Impact Tooth Growth in Goats

The environment in which a goat lives also plays a role in tooth growth. Cold weather, for instance, can reduce the rate at which teeth grow, and when combined with a lack of nutrients in the diet, can lead to a drastic decrease.

On the other hand, warm weather can help the goat’s denticles grow faster and obtain the nutrients needed for proper tooth growth.

Genetic Factors Impact Tooth Growth in Goats

Like humans, genetics can also affect how teeth grow in goats. Goats with a genetic predisposition to weak tooth growth can experience a slower rate of advancement than their more genetically sound counterparts.

Goat Teeth Diseases

Goats are prone to some diseases of the teeth, just like people. Several common diseases, such as periodontal disease and gum recession, can severely affect the goat’s health. Regular veterinary visits are essential to detect and treat these conditions as soon as possible.

Goats generally need to have their teeth examined regularly, as some can suffer from various teeth diseases, such as periodontal disease, malocclusion, and abscesses.

Vet examining a goat's teeth

Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is an infection that affects the structures that support the teeth. It is primarily caused by plaque buildup, which you can address with regular dental cleanings. If left untreated, this can lead to further problems, such as malocclusion, when the teeth in the upper and lower jaw no longer fit together correctly.


Malocclusion can cause many other issues, such as difficulty eating and digestion, gums and tongue inflammation, and cavities. The most common cause of this condition is the misalignment of the teeth. Again, this can be addressed by regular dental cleanings.


Abscesses are another issue that can arise in goats. They occur when pus accumulates in the tissue near a tooth and can be due to an infection, injury, or poor dental hygiene.

Treatment usually involves antibiotics, and an oral surgeon may need to be consulted in extreme cases. If an abscess is not treated, it can lead to extensive damage to the teeth and an inability to eat properly.

While goat teeth diseases can be severe, you can manage them if you treat them early and regularly. Regular exams will help to identify any problems before they become too intense.

Cleanings can help to remove any buildup of plaque and tartar that could lead to further issues, and a professional can prescribe some antibiotics to treat any infections.

Replacement Of Teeth

Like humans, goats lose their teeth over time and need to replace them. Goats are constantly replacing their incisors, which they will return at least once in their lifetime. The replacement process happens quickly because the incisors grow from the side, not from the top, like human teeth.

Goats’ Teeth And Predators

Goats’ predator defense system depends mainly on their naturally occurring horns and sharp, curved teeth. With their horns, goats can effectively scare away or attack larger predators, such as coyotes, wolves, or bears.

In addition to the horns, goats’ teeth protect against predators, especially smaller ones. They can use their sharp teeth to bite or even use them as weapons against predators that attempt to get too close.

Goats’ mouths have two teeth, one on each side of their upper jaw and four teeth on each side of their bottom jaw. Each of these teeth has been specifically adapted to tackle specific tasks and threats.

Importance Of Goat’s Teeth

Grazing And Eating

First, the four bottom teeth are specifically designed for grazing and eating. These teeth are curved and have razor-sharp edges, which allows goats to easily crop and bite through thick and tall grasses in their areas.


The two upper teeth are narrow and pointed, allowing goats to pick soft and scrubby material with these teeth easily. These tooth characteristics assist the goats in finding the nutritious parts of any available vegetation.

Protection Against Potential Attackers

Goats also possess what is known as canine teeth. These are located between the two incisors and the sharp, pointed canine teeth on the bottom jaw. These teeth provide a strong bite force that helps goats protect themselves from predators who attempt to get too close.

The sharpness of the bottom row incisors is essential for protection from predators. Goats can defend themselves with their teeth, and sensitivity is critical when successfully fending off potential attackers.


In conclusion, goats have dental pads on the teeth’ top row. The sharp teeth of goats are a natural predator defense system that enables goats to guard themselves against predatory animals.

Not only are teeth helpful for defending against predators, but they also help goats gather, graze, grind, break down grass, and digest food, which is essential to their diet. Goats’ teeth give them the tools they need to remain safe and survive in their environment.

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