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01460 261 160 - Somerset
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Why Equine Dentistry?

Why does my horse need his/her teeth rasping when horses in the wild cope fine without dentistry?

The main reason is diet. Wild horses graze on far coarser grasses than the domesticated horse, ingesting practically anything. Almost 80% of their diet consists of cordgrass, supplemented by thorny stems, twigs, rose hips, seaweeds and even poison ivy depending where the horse lives. This diet alone is enough to wear down the teeth at the rate they were designed. Conversely, the domesticated horse grazes on lush soft pasture and fed soft hay. This simply is not what the horse was designed to eat and in consequence, teeth ware down at an abnormal rate, giving rise to Common Equine Dental Malocclusions and sharp enamel points, affecting the horses performance and health.

Why do my horses teeth get sharp?

Each of your horses teeth comprise of three different densities; enamel, dentin and cementum. Enamel is the most dense of these three materials followed by cementum and then the softest, dentin. Due to this and your horses teeth wear down at different rates leaving enamel sharp edges, which turn into hooks and make your horse very uncomfortable.

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How can I help my horse?

Aside from keeping your horse updated with regular (6-8months) dentistry checks, there are a few things you can do to help increase the longevity of your horses teeth.

Taking the horse out of its natural environment can have big implications, so bringing back some natural ways of living can certainly help. Many horse owners feed their horses from a height in their stable (haynet), this is very unnatural and from a dental perspective because when a horse lowers his head his bottom jaw slides forward. So your horses lower jaw is unable to occlude (meet and grind) against his first upper premolars and last lower molars and . This can result in large hooks growing on the first upper tooth (6) and the last lower tooth (11) and will put pressure on the TMJ (jaw joint) and lock up your horses jaw, lead to weight loss, poor performance and even colic. My advice is to feed you horse from the ground as this is how they were designed to eat. See diagram.

As your horse reaches his mid teens he will begin to develop very small gaps between his teeth which ever so gradually get bigger with age. This is perfectly natural because as the teeth erupt, they get narrower leaving small gaps where the wider tooth used to be. With age, these gaps can pack feed and lead to diseases such as periodontal disease and gingivitis. A way of preventing this is to rinse his mouth out once a day with a hose (if he will allow you!) and this will flush out any packed feed.

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