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March 2019    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 34, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Should You Let the “Dentists of the Sea” Clean Your Teeth?

from the March, 2019 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Some divers who are familiar with the antics of cleaner shrimp, which eat parasites and dead skin off fish, do this party trick underwater -- remove their regulators and encourage these industrious little critters into their own mouths to clean their teeth. Why do shrimp do this for us, and should we let them?

Benjamin Titus, a biologist at the American Museum of Natural History, told National Geographic, "Shrimp have very poor vision, which might explain why they don't shy away from human clients." They may just see a diver as a very large client fish....


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