We all know that we need to brush our teeth at least twice a day, but what about horses? Do they need special dental care?

Most horses have yellowish brownish teeth, however there is no need to worry. The teeth of the horse are very active. They engage almost all day by chewing about 10 kg of hay, 3 kg of straw and about 6 kg of feed so that the body can release energy. Additionally they also eat a lot of grass. However, horse teeth are rarely brushed with a toothbrush. The question is, should they be cleaned? Off course the dentists should look into your horse’s mouth at least once a year. But, should you do anything during the remaining time until he comes to visit again?

Let’s talk about the color of the teeth

Horses are never seen flashing a shiny white Hollywood smile. It is normal for them to have yellowish, brownish and even darker coloring on their teeth. There is no need to worry. If they have are of really dark color it is not a sign of bad teeth. These are colors are caused by the remaining feed particles. Especially in areas where the grass has more colorants the teeth may appear darker. However, you still need to pay attention to their breath. Any foul odor coming from their mouth is a bad sign. It could be a sign of inflammation due to bacteria that have emerged inside the mouth.

Does brushing help?

To cut it short: No. The tooth of the horse consists of three components: dental enamel, dentin and dental cement. The dental cement covers the tooth and has a yellowish color and has a soft and porous structure. It serves as a strong hold of the tooth and protects the dentin. The inner part of the tooth consists of enamel. In humans the enamel is on the surface of the tooth. Cleaning the tooth regularly will protect the tooth from tartar. Normally, only little tartar is formed on the porous surface of the horse tooth. Constant chewing of long fibers will clean the teeth. This means, the teeth do not have to be brushed. The best dental care for horses is enough roughage.

How do we detect a toothache?

If your horse acts resistant when you ride, it can be a sign of toothache or pain in the mouth area. In most cases it can also be edges and hooks that formed due to friction and bother the horse when using a bit. Sometimes they can even cause wounds in the walls of the mouth. For this case, the vet can just grind them until they are even again. Also when your horse cannot chew certain foods, you should check their teeth as it can cause some digestive problems.

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