What prevents animals with sharp pointy teeth (sharks, alligators, etc.) from constantly biting their gums?



With humans our teeth are designed and aligned pretty orderly so we can’t do this…but when I look at something like an Angler fish..I wonder how it isn’t constantly sinking those sharp ass teeth into itself every time it takes a bite.

In: Other

Well generally animals with sharp teeth like that have the aligned like a zipper. Alternating and interlocking but fish like an angler fish have teeth that get so big they can actually properly close their mouths because their teeth stick out so to keep their food from coming out they lock their teeth together. But never are they just stabbing their gums every time the close their mouths and bite and stuff.

Also in nature we only see ‘successful’ adults, cos any animal that – in this case – has not well aligned teeth, causes itself harm, inflammation, cannot feed properly and dies.

The body (be it of human or non-human animals) grows in an organized, preordained manner. Not only are teeth made to grow in an interlocking way, the jaw of those fish is made not to move in a way that would get those teeth in their gums.
But there are other arrangements, like in alligators, who actually have small sockets in the upper jaw to fit the lower jaw teeth (which is why only the upper teeth are visible when they closed their mouths), and sperm whales who have the same arrangement.
Besides them, you have extinct animals like the saber-toothed cat (*Smilodon*) and the saber-toothed marsupial (*Thylacosmilus*), the latter which even had an elongated chin with skin pouches to protect the long teeth.

>our teeth are designed and aligned pretty orderly so we can’t do this

speak for yourself. i sometimes bite my cheeks hard enough to bleed, and i know people who do the same to their tongues

Predators’ jaws move almost completely up and down. They have very little to no sideways movement which is used for grinding in herbivores and would cause teeth that project sharply to slice their mouths . If you look at a crocodile snout and see the teeth are visible you will notice that they fit in indentations on the skin. The mouth is never open so long that the flesh can grow into where the tooth fits so that the tooth will cut it. Predators also have less cheeky faces since the food is largely swallowed in larger chunks. Look at a horse skull v a wolf skull and images of them alive with their mouths open. When the wolf opens its mouth you can see all the teeth. When a horse opens its mouth all the way you do not see the giant grinders in back which have cheeks there to hold in food that is being ground up.