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Other useful references

The following is a summary of the systematic review findings up to the date of our most recent literature search. If you have a specific clinical case, we strongly recommend you read all of the relevant references as cited and look for additional material published outside our search dates.


Measurement of intercanine distance to distinguish child and adult bites:

  • Less than 2.5 cm: child (deciduous teeth) 1
  • 2.5 – 3.0 cm: child or small adult 1
  • 2.5 – 4.5 cm: human 1
  • Greater than 3.0cm: adult 1
  • However, there is considerable racial, sexual and individual variation 2
  • Adult dentition reached at 12 years 2


Features of carnivorous animal bites:

  • Variable size 3
  • Puncture wounds spaced in relation to canines 3
  • Tear rather than compress flesh 3



  • Boys and girls under 10 years old were equally likely to suffer abusive bites 4



  • Three children bit their attackers 4



  • The commonest sites for abusive bites were arms (29%), legs (19%), shoulder (10%), back (8.5%), buttocks and face equal (7%) 4


Tracing perpetrators:

  • An integrated technique increases the likelihood of identifying the perpetrator of a bite 5

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  1. Levine LJ. Bite marks in child abuse. In: Sanger RG, Bross DC, eds. Clinical management of child abuse. Chicago: Quintessence, 1984:53-59
  2. Bishara SE, Jakobsen JR, Treder J, Nowak A. Arch width changes from 6 weeks to 45 years of age. American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. 1997;111(4):401-409 [Pubmed]
  3. Whittaker DK, MacDonald DG. Bitemarks in flesh. In: Whittaker DK, MacDonald DG, eds. A Colour Atlas of Forensic Dentistry. London: Wolfe Medical Publications Ltd,1989:108
  4. Freeman AJ, Senn DR, Arendt DM. Seven hundred seventy eight bite marks: Analysis by anatomic location, victim and biter demographics, type of crime, and legal disposition. Journal of Forensic Sciences. 2005;50(6):1436-1443 [Pubmed]
  5. Bernitz H, Owen JH, van Heerden WF, Solheim T. An integrated technique for the analysis of skin bite marks. Journal of Forensic Sciences. 2008;53(1):194-198 [Pubmed]


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