Domesticated horses require dental care to prevent their teeth from developing sharp points that can eventually cause mouth ulcers. This is because in captivity, horses chew less abrasive food and chew less often than non-domesticated horses, who on average chew around 16 hours a day. This lack of chewing causes an uneven wearing-down of the teeth. Remember, a horse’s molars can erupt for 25 to 30 years.
As a horse’s teeth begin to wear unevenly, points and pits begin to appear on the molars. These points and pits on the teeth will cause the horse to chew unnaturally, exacerbating the problem. Eventually, the horse will no longer be able to rock its teeth back and forth to chew because the teeth lock together. As the problem persists, the points on the molars can become razor sharp, eventually cutting into the cheek of the horse and causing painful ulcers.
Besides excess pain, the horse’s inability to grind their food properly results in a horse that cannot benefit from a food’s maximum nutritional value.
To correct these problems, a horse will need to have its teeth evened out with a process know as “floating.” To maintain your horse’s oral health, horses should have their teeth examined & possibly floated once a year.