Cleaner Shrimp and Other Underwater Dentists
It’s not just humans that can suffer from oral disease and parasites. Many fish species are vulnerable to parasites that can feed on the blood or flesh of their hosts, leading to weakness or illness. To protect themselves from parasites, these fish employ the help of cleaner species on the reef.
In the video, we see one of the more common types of cleaners, a skunk cleaner shrimp. The diver opens his mouth and the shrimp, after a moment’s hesitation, heads right in. You’ll notice in the video that there’s another shrimp nearby, though only one goes into the diver’s mouth. Cleaner shrimp often set up “cleaning stations,” where dozens of shrimp assemble. The shrimp will then do a “rocking dance” (presumably not the twist or the watusi) to advertise that they’re offering cleaning services. Fish will then come up to have themselves cleaned, opening their mouths and gills so that the shrimp can get inside and pull out parasites.
Cleaner shrimp aren’t the only type of cleaner species in the sea, either. Cleaner wrasse are a kind of small fish that offers cleaning services to fish out of their cleaning stations along the reef.
A Replacement for Brushing or Going to the Dentist?
So, assuming you could get over any squeamishness at having a shrimp climbing in your mouth, could you give up your brushing routine in favor of having a cleaner shrimp take care of your teeth? It certainly seems promising, but it’s not a good idea.
First, it’s hard to hold your breath long enough to give the shrimp adequate time to properly clean your mouth. Plus, the feeding pattern of cleaning shrimp is erratic. It might be adequate for animals that often have disposable teeth, but for humans, who depend on the integrity of every tooth, neglected regions of your mouth could be problematic.
But if you are looking for a terrestrial dentist in Tarrytown, please call (914) 357-8112 for an appointment at Advanced Dentistry of Tarrytown today.