Continue reading for our analysis...
Dental hygiene is important, even if you’re a bear. This video clip shows a man brushing a bear’s teeth in his kitchen. The bear is surprisingly patient and opens to show his large, sharp teeth. Not one to worry about such sharp chompers on a fierce predator, the man grabs the bear’s mouth with his free hand and makes sure to get into all areas to prevent cavities.
The bear clearly knows the routine. When the man comes with the brush and a glass of water, the bear watches in anticipation. He sits calmly and opens his mouth on command.
While the video is fascinating to watch, the comments section is almost as great. “Officially no pet owner has an excuse to not brush their dog’s teeth,” writes one viewer. We agree! Keeping your dog’s teeth clean and healthy can impact their overall health. But what about bears?
Is This Normal Bear Behavior?
We think it’s safe to say that this is not typical of most bears. This bear has been trained. While not domesticated to the same extent as dogs, cats, or other pets, this bear has been socialized. He is used to people. However, he is still a wild animal. We don’t recommend trying to brush a bear’s teeth, even if they are socialized.
In the wild, bears don’t get their teeth brushed. They maintain dental health by eating the right kinds of foods, especially more abrasive foods that can help remove build-up or other things that can lead to cavities. The right kinds of foods are also a balanced part of a bear’s diet and help maintain their overall health. This is one reason of many that it’s important to not interfere with wild animals by leaving out food or feeding them things that they wouldn’t normally find in the wild.
Zoos do take extra steps to keep bears’ teeth clean and gleaming, including brushing their teeth. While more extensive exams are often performed while the animal is sedated, daily brushings can be done similar to what is seen in this video. Positive reinforcers, such as special food treats, are used to train bears and other animals to sit still during a brushing. We’re guessing that the man in this video used a similar tactic to teach his bear to get his teeth brushed.
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.