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Digital Subscriptions > Horse Illustrated > Oct 2019 > Senior Dental Care

Senior Dental Care

As your horse gets older, his teeth need a little extra TLC to keep him as healthy as possible.

Being herbivores, horses rely on eating large amounts of fibrous vegetation throughout the day to keep their digestive systems healthy and their body weight on target. The mechanical means by which your horse tears and grinds hay, grass, and any grain that you give him heavily dictates how much he can consume and how well it is digested.

It’s no small wonder that when a senior horse’s teeth start to show their age, so does the rest of the horse. The following is a look at equine dentition in more detail and how to keep senior horses’ teeth as healthy as we can.

Uneven wear creates sharp points on the edges of some molars. They are seen more frequently in our older equines, usually because mild dental issues have been missed or ignored and are compounded as the horse ages.


Horses and most other grazing species have what are called “hypsodont” teeth. This means the teeth have a large crown (the part above the gum line) that continues to grow up from the gum over the animal’s lifetime. This continual tooth growth is necessary due to the constant wear and tear on the molars during grazing.

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