Horses are beautiful and strong creatures that continue to captivate us every time we gaze at them galloping or trotting. They continue to steal our hearts with their muscular stature, strength, and those big chompers of theirs!
Foals, or baby horses, are not born with teeth, but that does not last for too long. Within seven days of living, the foal will grow their first four incisor teeth, two in the upper jaw and two in the lower jaw.
The second set of incisors will grow within the following two weeks of life. These teeth will simply be used for shredding grass and hay from the fields as a means of providing itself with a way to obtain and eat their food.
When Do Horses Teeth Come In?
Horses tend to have their teeth come in around the time they are born, or typically right after they are born.
Within the first couple of weeks, they will have developed enough teeth to be able to fend for themselves by using them to pull up vegetation from the Earth so that they may have a sustainable meal.
Within their incisors will come in first, followed by molars, and even a new set of teenage teeth within a few short years, and their adult teeth following suit as they mature into adult horses.
Horse Teeth At 2 Years Old
Dental development starts around two years of age for horses. At this point, the first set of deciduous teeth are beginning to fall out so that their bigger and stronger second set of teeth may set in properly.
The horse will lose two sets of their baby teeth during this period, as well as a two sets of molars from the back of their set of teeth, which will be replaced with their permanent teenage teeth.
This is the most pivotal point of tooth development for horses to ensure proper tooth growth.
Horse Teeth At 3 Years Old
By the time the horse is 3 years of age, their first set of baby teeth have started to fall out to make sure that the next set is ready to emerge and take its place.
Their second set of teeth have already been erected from their mouth and their second set of permanent molars for the front and the back will begin to emerge, all by the age of 3 ½. This is an imperative point in tooth development for a horse because these new teeth help the horse to chew its food properly for sustenance.
Horse Teeth At 4 Years Old
At 4 years old, the horse should be at the point of shedding its second set of deciduous teeth. This is important because without proper rid of the baby teeth, complications are more likely to arise, forming many different oral health issues; and if this is the case, those teeth are usually removed by an oral specialist.
Typically this is avoided with proper teeth inspection and care.
The rest of their incisors and molars from their second set of teeth will be pushed out, opting for their third, or “adult” teeth to get ready to play their part.
Horse Teeth At 5 Years Old
At 5 years old the teeth of a young horse have shedded for their adult teeth to emerge and take over as the new set of permanent teeth.
At this time, all baby teeth should have been extricated from their mouth so that the third set of teeth can arise.
Also, around the age of 5 is when the new permanent teeth start to become sharp at an expeditious rate because the horse begins taking advantage of their strength, which also smoothes and rounds their new set of incisors and molars.
Horse Teeth At 6 Years Old
At 6 years of age, the canines are still being fully developed, yet they most likely have emerged from the gums and are being used for mastication (chewing) purposes, while their mature set of teeth are still growing into maturity.
They will reach a solid size, and will seem small and sharp from being used so efficiently throughout the years.
This is a time for the teeth to be shaped and rounded if the horse is in captivity, yet, they are allowed to grow out if the horse is posed within its natural setting.
Do Horse Teeth Stop Growing?
Unlike us humans who only receive two sets of teeth – our baby teeth and adult teeth – horse teeth do not stop growing.
For most of their life, the teeth of a horse will continue to shed from their mouth, due to a new set of teeth formulating and getting ready for release.
The ripping and chewing while eating is what keeps the horse’s teeth properly shaped and grinded down to an appropriate size to be safe for the mouth of the hors, as well as handled by a horse specialist.
Do Horse Teeth Fall Out?
Yes, horse teeth do fall out, and this will happen for the majority of their life for several reasons. Initially, the teeth will naturally fall out to make room for the new set of health teeth to emerge through.
Also, horse teeth will fall out if they are damaged and harmful to the mouth of the horse, which may cause decay or negative effects to their oral hygiene.
Additionally, if any of the teeth are non-functional or of bad health, they can also be pulled out for a new health tooth to grow and take its place.
Do Horse Teeth Grow Back?
Yes, while the horse is still in baby, adolescent, or adult mode, yes, their teeth will grow back if one falls out or if one is pulled out due to improper growth or decay that may occur.
The permanent teeth of a horse that does not fall out will continue to grow and take shape through the horse’s life.
However, once the horse is of old age, tooth generation stops, and if the horse’s tooth falls out, they may simply have a gap in that area where the old tooth used to be.
Horse Teeth Problems
One of the most significant teeth problems that occur within the oral hygiene of a horse is misalignment of the jaw, also known as “parrot mouth”, which is caused from the result of a missing tooth.
Overgrowth of a tooth, or a set of teeth, is another problem that horse teeth may endure, which is cured by shaving down and shaping the teeth.
Diastema is the space between teeth where food is collected; this is an issue because it could cause bad breath in the horse, or even gum disease.
Horse Teeth Structure
In the back towards the middle are the premolars, which are used to grind up food before it is swallowed to ensure proper digestion.
In the middle towards the front are their wooth teeth, which are used to break down food once it is in the mouth of the horse.
The canines sit on the side of their mouth and are used to further chew food and sit towards the lateral front of the horse’s mouth, and they are used to shred and pull up vegetation from the ground for sustenance, which is also a job for their incisors.
Are Horse Teeth Sharp?
Initially, yes, horse teeth can be sharp, especially their incisors and canines. However, these sharp teeth could cause significant damage to their mouth such as cuts and bleeding which could lead to unfortunate oral health issues.
Their teeth are typically shaped and evenly worn down by the types of food that they horse eats, or by an oral specialist that can use a special tool to grind and form sharp teeth into curves and flats.
How Many Teeth Do Horses Have?
Horses have between 36 and 44 teeth as a fully developed adult horse.
This many teeth will occur around the age of 5 or 6, which are the ages for a horse to be considered a mature adult. All equines have different shaped teeth for several different purposes.
Additionally, most to all horses have 12 incisors towards the anterior of the mouth, along with their 8 canines, and pre and mature molars which sit towards the back of their mouth.
If the horse is missing teeth, this number could be reduced to about 30 teeth, on average.
How Often Should Horse Teeth Be Floated?
To be “floated” means to be checked out by a specialist to ensure proper oral care; and a horse should engage in their routine dental float at least once per year.
Bi-annually, or every 6 months, is recommended for horses that may be of older age, or may already be experiencing so oral problems including missing teeth, teeth decay, misalignment, or overgrowth.
You’ll know when your horse should be floated based on the way that they chew and eat, their appetite, as well as any excessive or lack of bocal fluids that may occur.
Do Horses Need Their Wolf Teeth Pulled?
The necessity of a horse’s wolf teeth being pulled is based on several factors. Their wolf teeth are not technically necessary, so if they do not interfere with the functioning of the horse’s mouth, then they can remain.
On the contrary, if the wolf teeth are causing oral issues such as unwarranted scratches to the gums and inner cheeks, or misalignment of the other teeth; then many horse trainers will have the option to have them removed before the horse’s wolf teeth cause any significant damage to the horse’s gums, cheeks, or other teeth.
Are Hay Nets Bad For Horse Teeth?
Hay nets are used to keep hay off the ground so that horses do not have to bend all the way over to eat directly from the Earth.
Eating from a hay net feeder can certainly alsing the horse’s jaws differently from a horse that is in nature, mainly in the form of an unnatural position. This may lead to uneven wear of the horse’s teeth.
In essence, hay nets serve a potentially beneficial purpose, but may cause adverse oral effects on the horse’s teeth.
Are Slow Feeders Bad For Horse Teeth?
Slow feeders are typically not bad for the teeth of a horse as they serve the purpose of providing sustenance to the horse.
However, what does make a slow feeder a potential problem for the teeth of a horse is the steel or metal grate that is used to construct it. The metal could rust or chip off, which then enters the horse’s food, and thus, into their mouth.
These small metal parts could cause scratches or become logged in their gums.
Are Apples Good For Horse Teeth?
Apples are a good source of food if your horse has adequate oral health.
Apples are crunchy and contain seeds and skin, which could become a problem for a horse if they become stuck in their teeth.
If the apples are de-seeded with the skin taken off, cut up into small pieces, and your horse still has some strong chompers on them, then apples could be a sweet and delicious treat for your horse to snack on.