Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
...While the period narratives added do suggest the elephants 'armed to the teeth' (pun intended) they certainly meant swords bound to the TUSKS not the teeth, and I wonder if similar misperception might apply....
Tusks are elongated, continuously growing front teeth
, usually but not always in pairs, that protrude well beyond the mouth of certain mammal species. They are most commonly canine teeth, as with warthogs, pigs, and walruses, or, in the case of elephants, elongated incisors.
Thus 'armed to the teeth' is correct
especially with a chain of translations from indian languages to western ones and then to english here. Elephant swords were mounted on teeth, the TUSK ones, or front incisors if you want to be more precise.