Getting to Know Your Horse’s Teeth
Just as with humans, an important part of your horse’s healthcare is to care for its teeth. Altogether, a horse has the capacity to have up to 44 teeth by the time it is an adult. These teeth include:
- Incisors: front teeth that horse uses to bite or tear off grass. Al horses have a total of 12 incisors, with six on the bottom and six on top.
- Canine: also called “tusks,” the canines are most often found in geldings and stallions. It is believed that the only function of these teeth is for fighting between males in the herd.
- Premolars and Molars: together, these teeth make up the horse’s cheek teeth. As the largest teeth in the mouth, the surfaces of these teeth meet in a sideways motion to grind food into smaller particles so they can be digested. All horses have a total of 24 cheek teeth. Since the upper jaw is slightly wider than the lower jaw, the upper and lower cheek teeth do not meet together perfectly. As a result, the upper cheek teeth protrude on the cheek side while the lower teeth protrude on the tongue side.
Most horses have all of their teeth by the age of five.