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Do Goldfish Have Teeth? Vet-Reviewed Anatomy & Info!

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By Lindsey Stanton

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Goldfish appear to be toothless, and you certainly cannot see much when you look into their mouths if you happen to get a glance. So, do goldfish have teeth? The answer is yes, goldfish have teeth, but their mouths don’t look like they’re full of teeth. They aren’t dolphins or sharks with rows of razor-sharp teeth, but nonetheless, they do have them.

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Do Goldfish Have Teeth?

Image Credit: Mirek Kijewski, Shutterstock

Yes, goldfish actually have teeth, but they are not what you would imagine them to be like. They are not designed for biting and ripping apart their prey like predatory fish. Let’s take a closer look at goldfish teeth to see what they are all about.

Where are Goldfish Teeth?

When you look into a goldfish’s mouth, unless you really pull the mouth open and look deep down into the fish, you won’t actually see any teeth at all. Goldfish teeth are located in the rear of the mouth, or actually at the rear of the throat, at the pharynx, so more or less in the throat of the goldfish. They are called pharyngeal teeth. While goldfish have teeth, they aren’t really located in the mouth, at least not in the front like we are used to.

A goldfish has 8 teeth in total, 4 on each side. Their shape is classified as “compressed”. The closest wild ancestor of the goldfish, the common carp, has 10 teeth total (5 on each side of the mouth). Their teeth resemble the molars of most mammals, and are called molariform.

Do Goldfish Have Sharp Teeth?

No, goldfish do not have sharp teeth at all. Their teeth are flat and fairly smooth, also known as compressed teeth. The morphological basis of their teeth shape isn’t properly understood, and using aquarium fish as a reference isn’t conducive to research, as pet goldfish have a different diet than wild fish. In their natural habitat, goldfish are omnivores and have a very adaptable diet. The current reigning hypothesis is that their teeth shape is an evolutionary remnant from a common ancestor as the carp.

When kept as pets, goldfish will use their flat teeth to grind up their food into a paste, so they can easily swallow it.

Do Goldfish Lose Their Teeth?

Yes, this is actually quite an interesting fact about goldfish, as their teeth constantly fall out and grow back. It’s pretty convenient because there’s not much chance of a goldfish developing tooth decay or dental issues since the teeth fall out and grow back at a very high rate.

goldfishes in the aquarium
Image Credit: JuanCarlosPalauDiaz, Pixabay

Can Goldfish Bite You?

A goldfish cannot bite you. Sure, they can try to bite you, but it will be like being bitten by nothing but gums and lips or being bitten by a small toothless dog. Therefore, no matter how hard it might try, in no way can a regular goldfish injure you or break the skin due to biting. Goldfish are quite fearful and in all reality, they won’t try to bite you.

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The bottom line is that while goldfish have teeth; you won’t see or feel them, and they are nothing more than flat teeth designed for grinding. You don’t have to worry about being bitten by a goldfish!

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