Cow Teeth: Do Cows Have Upper Teeth?

Cows may not be known for their bite but do they have teeth? To most of us, cows seem like gentle creatures whose incredible abilities to provide us with dairy and meat should be celebrated. After all, we humans would never get far without them. But what about cow teeth – do these animals possess upper ones? Is it true that cows only have lower teeth, or is there something else behind this myth? In this blog post, you’ll find the answers to these questions and more as we delve into the surprisingly complex world of cow dentition.

A Calf’s First Teeth: (Milk Teeth)

Every cow experiences the fascinating event of growing its first teeth when they are only a few weeks old. These are milk teeth; cow calves emerge from early life with just 8 incisors and no molars.

In total, cows have 32 teeth that occupy both their upper and lower dental arcs. Surprisingly, cow’s do not have an upper set of teeth to chew against the food. They consume—instead, they use their powerful tongue to mash up any food thoroughly. Before it reaches the lower teeth, where digestion occurs, milk teeth typically fall off in cows during their teenage years and should be replaced with a permanent adult tooth set by three years old.

cow teeth
Do Cows have upper Teeth?

Do Cows Have Upper Teeth?

Cows have the same dental composition as most other members of the ruminant family. They have continuous rows of Tough flat teeth on the lower part of their mouth. But none on the upper jaw.

It is because cows don’t traditionally chew their food – instead. They use their tongues and complex roofs to grind up their food. Often people confuse these round, complex ‘molars’ for an upper set of teeth where there are, in fact, none. Some species that can exist independently from grasses and other plant material possess back molars in both upper and lower jaws.

The Dental Formula of Cow

The dental formula of a cow is an interesting way to measure the number and type of teeth that this majestic mammal possesses. A cow has the same dental formula as humans; 32 permanent teeth, including 8 incisors, 4 canines, 8 premolars and 12 molars in each half of both jaws. However, cows have a unique adaptation of having 6 to 8 temporary incisors that grow in the upper jaw. These extra “baby” teeth will eventually disappear when all the adult teeth come in. Knowing how many teeth cows have can help owners offer better care and proper nutrition for their cattle.

cow teeth
Cows Dental Formula


How Many Teeth Do Cows Have? (Adult Teeth)

Cows are unique animals with unique sets of teeth. Although cows may not look like it, they have four sets of teeth throughout their life. Adult cows have 32 permanent teeth in total, including both 8 incisors and 12 premolars and 12 molars, located across the lower and upper jaw. Cows use these teeth for chewing to help break down grasses, providing them with nutrition and energy. This is known as rumination or cud-chewing and is an important process provided by their prehensile tongue and those 32 adult teeth.

Do cows have upper teeth


Cows have a total of 32 adult teeth – incisors and molars. As a ruminant, cows have four incisors at the front of their bottom jaw used for nibbling grass and other herbage. These incisors give them their unique look when grazing. In addition, cows have 12 premolars and 12 molars in the back of their mouth to grind food down into digestible bits. It helps them to process large amounts of plant matter efficiently and allows them to get all the sustenance they need from grazing alone.


Cows possess upper premolars or molars found on both sides of their mouths. These premolars are rounded and sharper than the back teeth in their lower jaw. Their upper molars help them grind up large amounts of vegetation, including leaves, stems, and grass.

As cows age and their teeth become worn. They eventually start to suffer from dental health problems, which can lead to reduced feed conversion efficiency and body condition. Knowing more about cows’ teeth is essential as it helps us understand how they graze and what nutrition they need to remain healthy.


Cows are often known for their utterly impressive masticating abilities. But you may not know that cows have upper molars. These molars in the upper jaw help them grind down and munch on the grasses and other vegetation they eat.

Cows use their molars the same way – breaking down tricky bits. Taking large chunks of food and turning them into smaller pieces. That can be easily swallowed, digested, and absorbed nutrients.

A Guide For Estimating the Age (in Months ) of Cow By Dentition

Cattle, like other animals, begin their lives with baby or milk teeth. At around two years of age, these will start to be replaced by permanent teeth, which erupt in pairs starting from the center pair. Once the first tooth of a given pair has broken through the gum, it will continue to develop until the cow has a complete set of 8 permanent teeth, which is said to be an ‘8 tooth’. This age can often be recognized by looking for a row of small teeth in the bottom jaw. Take, for example, this heifer – due to only having one row of tiny teeth. She is considered a ‘milk-tooth’ animal, likely under 2 years old.

Estimating the age of a cow is an essential skill for farmers and cattle breeders. It can be tricky to determine without exact records, but thankfully it’s possible to estimate by examining the cow’s dentition.

By looking at the teeth of a cow, the farmer should be able to determine with some accuracy how old the animal is in months. The method is relatively simple; the farmer should look at the lower incisors (the flat teeth in front of the jaw). For signs of age, as well as take into account their size and hardness.

Additionally, it can help to locate any adult molars present as these can give a more accurate idea of age. With some practice, the farmer will soon become an expert at estimating a cow’s age based on its dentition.

Can Cows Bite?

Cows can ‘bite’; the answer is No. But because they have no top teeth at the front of their mouth, all they can typically do is leave you with a good bruise or pinch. Instead of sharp teeth, cows rely on their size and their hooves. Main defenses and bulls also use their horns to chase down threatening intruders. Fortunately, if a cow does bite you, it is unlikely to cause significant damage.


1. Do cows have upper teeth?

Answer: Cows do have Molars on the upper and lower jaw. But the only incisors are the lower jaw.

2. Do all cows have teeth?

Answer: All cows have teeth. Adult cows have 32 permanent teeth in total, including both 8 incisors and 12 premolars and 12 molars, located across the lower and upper jaw. However, all calves do have teeth when they are born. Calves start to lose their baby teeth at around six months of age, and their permanent adult teeth start to come in at around 12 months of age.

3. What do cows use their teeth for?

Answer: Cows use their teeth for grinding up plants that they eat. Their molars are flat and have ridges on them, which helps them grind up the tough plant material. They also have a prehensile upper lip and tongue, which helps them grab onto the plants they’re eating.

4. How many teeth do cows have?

Answer: Adult cows have 32 permanent teeth in total, including both 8 incisors and 12 premolars and 12 molars, located across the lower and upper jaw. However, all calves do have teeth when they are born.

5. Are the front teeth of a cow different than the back teeth?

Answer: Yes, the front teeth of a cow are different than the back teeth. The front teeth are called incisors and are used for cutting food. The back teeth are called molars and are used for grinding food.

One thought on “Cow Teeth: Do Cows Have Upper Teeth?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *