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Hippopotamus at Osaka Tennoji Zoo delights visitors with teeth-brushing event

A zookeeper brushes the teeth of the 34-year-old male hippopotamus "Tetsuo" at Osaka Tennoji Zoo, in Osaka's Tennoji Ward, on June 3, 2018. (Mainichi)

OSAKA -- Ahead of the "campaign week for dental and oral health" kicking off June 4 and running through June 10, the Osaka Dental Association and the Mainichi Newspapers Co. held an event to showcase how keepers at the Osaka Tennoji Zoo here brush the teeth of a hippopotamus.

Male hippopotamus Tetsuo, 34, opened his mouth widely as a zookeeper brushed his teeth using a big brush that is usually used to wash a car. The animal shut his eyes and looked like he was enjoying the treatment. The visitors who were witness to the spectacle were impressed with the teeth-brushing activities for about 15 minutes.

It is thought to be difficult for germs to build up in the mouth of a hippopotamus, as the animal is herbivorous. When a child asked, "Does he have any cavities?" the zookeeper clearly answered, "No."

(Japanese original by Takashi Okamura, Osaka City News Department)

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