Last Updated on February 24, 2022 by Allison Price
Horse owners are eager to learn more about their horse’s dental anatomy. You’ve probably heard the expression “Never look at a gift horse in their mouth”, but you need to look at them when assessing a horse’s oral health or age.
The most important part of a horse’s body is its teeth. Horses, donkeys and ponies are all efficient herbivores.
Horses spend their lives grazing and are provided with hardwearing and specialized dental care. Horse teeth grow and change over time.
Because of their constant growth, horses require regular dental care.
You can assess the age of an animal by observing the changes in its teeth and the growth.
This guide will tell you how many horse teeth there are. It doesn’t require that you look in the horse’s mouth to count them.ContentsShow
What number of teeth does a horse have?
Horses average 36 to 42 teeth, while a male adult horse may have 40 permanent teeth, while a mare may have 36-40 teeth.
The gender of the horse and its potential for growth of additional teeth between the bars will determine how many teeth it has.
A horse with 36 teeth has 12 incisors and 12 premolars. A foal, on the other hand, has 24 teeth. It includes 12 incisors as well as 12 premolars.
Horses have two sets of permanent teeth, one for each set of baby (deciduous), and the other for their entire life.
Around the age of 2 1/2, permanent teeth replace baby teeth. All permanent or adult teeth are present in horses by five years of age. Adult permanent teeth are incisors and canines.
Different types of horse teeth
The anatomy of the horse’s oral cavity is complex. Horses can have many different types of teeth, and they will continue to grow and change throughout their lives.
A foal’s first set of teeth is made up of deciduous, milk or baby teeth. When a foal is born, baby teeth will be visible.
After the horse’s second birthday, 24 of the permanent teeth are removed from the horse’s mouth and replaced with permanent teeth.
All the baby teeth have been replaced by adult teeth by the time the horse turns 5.
Young horses may not be able to lose their baby teeth easily. A veterinarian or an equine dentist can help.
After the permanent teeth have been removed, the horse’s permanent teeth will continue to grow. These are the teeth you need to look out for when determining the age of your horse.
As the horse ages, the growth of teeth stops and the teeth start to fall out. This could lead to weight loss or quidding.
As the foal reaches 4 to 5 years old, tusks, canine or wolf teeth will become evident. This is more common in geldings and stallions than in mares.
The canine, or tushes, are small and sometimes sharp teeth that grow between the incisor and cheek teeth.
They can be found only in the upper jaw, or both upper and lower jaws.
Canine and wolf teeth are not useful in modern horses. They are frequently removed because they cause discomfort, particularly when holding a bit.
These “fighting teeth”, which are located beneath the gum, are very small in size.
The horse’s front teeth are sometimes called incisors. The incisors are the 6 upper and 6 bottom front teeth.
These are the first permanent teeth to develop and then fall out. They are easy to see, have deep roots, and are simple to grasp and tear.
These deep-rooted curves extend back to the jaw bone.
The gradual erosion caused by cropping fodder is being replaced by incisors that continue to grow. Like human teeth, incisors are susceptible to being damaged by blows.
Premolars and Molars
The cheekbones are also known as premolars and molars. They can be found under the bars of your mouth.
These teeth are responsible for all the grinding necessary to prepare food for digestion. The incisors are smaller than the premolars and molars.
Horses have 12 premolars and 12 molars, which are divided into the upper jaw and lower jaw. If you see hay or grasses that are longer than 1/2 inch in horse’s mouths, this is a sign of a problem with the cheek teeth.
Premolars, and molars, are deeply rooted bones that reach the bottom of your bone. Rare cases may see horses develop an additional molar.
Anatomy of Horse Teeth
The equine tooth is similar to humans in that it has four layers: pulp, dentin and enamel. The pulp is the innermost layer and contains vital structures such as nerves, blood supply, lymphatics and odontoblasts.
The next layer, dentin, is what makes up the majority of teeth. There are four types: primary, regular secondary and irregular secondary. Tertiary protects the pulp.
Next is Enamel. It is between the cementum and dentin that is the hardest substance in a tooth. Enamel is not able to heal itself like other issues.
The outermost layer of the cementum serves as an attachment between tooth and periodontal ligament. It supports the horse as he chews.
For biting the grass, incisors (or front teeth) are used, while back teeth, molars and premolars can be used for grinding.
Common Dental Problems
Tooth problems can lead to poor health, weight gain, difficulty wearing a bit, behavioral problems, and even death. Sharp edges and hooks can cause uneven edges that need to be smoothed. Parrot or jaw alignment problems can cause chewing problems.
Healthy gum color is pink. Any color change could indicate health problems. Horses require regular dental checks at least once per year.
In short,horses can have a variety of types of teeth. The number can vary from 36 to 40. These teeth include the incisors and canine as well as premolars, molars, and molars. Regular dental checks are necessary for horses with dental problems. If you notice any signs of dental problems, consult your veterinarian immediately.
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!