How many teeth do horses have?
Horses have a complete set, which is rare. A Stallion or Gelding have 44 teeth, while Mare has 36 up to 40.
-Horses have teeth that continue to erupt for 20 to 30 years. These teeth are called a “hypsodont.”
-A horse’s front teeth are called incisors. These are the teeth the horse uses to pull grass. There are six incisors on the top and six on the bottom of the mouth.
–Canine horse teeth are usually only present in male horses and some mares. The canines are located between the incisor and cheek teeth with two on top and two on bottom. Also known as ” fighting teeth”
–Cheek Teeth : Premolars and molars, collectively called cheek teeth, grind and bolus ( chewed mass) and move it to the back of mouth for the horse to swallow.
-There can be four pre-molars on both side of the top and bottom. The first pre-molars are referred to as “wolf teeth”. Wolf teeth are most commonly on top of the mouth, but they can be on the bottom as well. It is common for horses to have their wolf teeth pulled for better bit comfort.
– A horse has four molars. These are the teeth used for chewing and grinding. They are located on both sides of the mouth, top and bottom.
–Tooth Eruption, with 40 plus thousand chews per day cause substantial tooth abrasion. Teeth erupt ( move out of bone) about 1/8 inch per year throughout a horses lifetime to compensate for normal attrition ( wear).
– Bits and Biting: the Bit you use when riding should not affect your horses’ teeth. ” The bit should never contact the horses cheek teeth ” although it does make contact with the bars, corners of the mouth, and the horse’s tongue. The role of the Bit is to put pressure on the mouth, never on the teeth.
– Signs of Teeth trouble indicating it might be time for a dental check up, such as Choking and Colic are signs of teeth abnormalities result in decreased ability to not being able to grind foliage properly. More signs are, bad breath , poor body weight , tilting head ( from not chewing properly and moving food to other side of mouth ) and excessive salivation.
*An annual exam is sufficient for most healthy horses between ages 5 and 15. Older horses with slower tooth growth might have exams spaced at 15 or 18 months, as advised by your veterinary dental provider. Some older horses will need more frequent exams due to age-related dental disease.