Top Ten Reasons Your Horse Needs Regular Dental Care

  1. Horses' teeth erupt throughout their lives.
  2. The upper jaw is 30% wider than the lower jaw which creates sharp points on the cheek surface of the upper teeth and on the tongue surface of the lower teeth.
  3. These points can cause discomfort, pain, even lacerations in the mouth and can hinder performance in the working horse as well as the pleasure or pastured horse.
  4. Because their diet is mainly roughage, horses need teeth of even height.
  5. Roughage digestion occurs by microbial fermentation in the cecum. Particles that are too large will pass through undigested and the nutrients are not utilized.
  6. Inadequately chewed roughage increases the risk of intestinal obstruction (colic!).
  7. Incisors do not wear at the same rate as the molars due to the nonabrasive nature of the diet of the domestic horse. These long incisors can create gaps in the chewing surface of the molars.
  8. Early or late tooth eruption creates an uneven chewing surface. This becomes more exaggerated with time.
  9. Tall, sharp canine teeth can pinch or cut the tongue (primarily a problem of geldings and stallions).
  10. Horses chew in a figure 8 type of pattern which requires an angle of about 15 degrees on the molar surface to chew efficiently.

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