Call nowDirections

Did this polar bear have a killer toothache?

Here’s a scary consequence of not treating tooth pain: wild animals that prey on humans are sometimes found, post mortem, to be suffering from toothache. Because the afflicted animals have damaged or infected teeth, they are unable to hunt for their usual prey and resort to eating humans.

A case in point is a polar bear that attacked a group of British campers in August 2011, killing one of them. The campers had been participating in a nature expedition in a part of the Arctic Archipelago that’s under the jurisdiction of Norway. (The actual polar bear is shown in the photo.)

As a result of the attack, the bear was captured and killed. Bjørnar Ytrehus, the vet who performed the autopsy, found that the bear was in the throes of a dental emergency, with several exposed nerves in his teeth. In addition, the bear’s stomach was empty, suggesting that the bear’s toothache had rendered him unfit to hunt for his usual fare. “This must have influenced the behaviour of the bear,” said the vet.

Source: August 17, 2011. “Deadly polar bear had a toothache.”