Dental health was evaluated in two populations of raccoons (Procyon lotor) in western Illinois (USA); one was from a rural agricultural area with low human density and the other from a nearby state park heavily used by humans and raccoons. From 1989 through 1993, 300 raccoons were live-trapped in the agricultural area and 246 raccoons were live-trapped in the park. Oral health was assessed using gingival and calculi indices and by measuring loss of attachment and tooth wear. Raccoons from the park were significantly older and smaller, but not thinner, than raccoons from the farmed area. Gingival and periodontal indices, tooth wear, tooth loss, and caries increased significantly from juveniles to yearlings to adults, at both sites. Males had higher levels of gingivitis and loss of periodontal attachment than females, but were similar on other dental measures. There were no seasonal differences between raccoons in dental indices. Animals with high scores for one oral measure tended to have high values for all indices. Dental health was generally good for juveniles and yearlings from both sites. Among adults, periodontal indices and the prevalence of caries were significantly higher in the park, but prevalence of broken or missing teeth was similar for both populations. There was no association between body condition, and a higher dental score or more missing or broken teeth.
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Vol. 35 • No. 4