Equine Dental Care
Did you know?
1. Horses’ teeth grow continuously throughout their life.
2. A horse gets his first permanent teeth (middle incisors) at 3 years of age.
3. All of the molars and some of the premolars on a horse’s upper arcades have their roots in the sinuses.
4. As horses get older the angle of their incisors flattens out and the teeth appear longer, hence the term “long in the tooth”!
5. If your horse has a hook or a point on a rostral (front) premolar, then they usually have a corresponding hook on the back molar on the mandible.
6. Horses chew with a circular sideways grinding motion which dictates the wear pattern on their molars and over time creates sharp points on the inside edge of some teeth and the outside edge of others.
5 Reasons to have your horses’ teeth checked by a vet every year:
1. The number one cause of weight loss in horses as they age is poor dental care.
2. Because their teeth continually grow throughout their life, poor growth patterns established when they are young (5-8 years old) will continue to cause problems as they age (such as wave mouth).
3. Sharp points and hooks on the molars and premolars can cause ulcerations on the cheeks, tongue and gums that over time can be very painful and form scar tissue.
4. Poor teeth with points or hooks or imbalance may effect a horse’s training and how they respond to the bit. This can be a reason that a horse tosses his head or evades the bit (but not always!).
5. Broken teeth or diastema (deep crevasse between teeth) can lead to sinus infections, swollen facial structures, and nasal discharge.
Signs that your horse needs his teeth checked:
1. Dropping grain or balls of hay while eating.
2. Weight loss or loss of condition.
3. Undigested particles or long pieces of hay in manure.
4. Bad smell from nostrils or mouth.
5. Nasal discharge or swelling of the face.