I thought horse's teeth just took care of themselves?
Horse's have hypsodont teeth; this means that their teeth are constantly erupting through the gum. Because of this, sharp edges and other malocclusions form on the horse's teeth and can interfere with the jaw's range of motion. This can make it difficult for the horse to masticate his feed properly and can even affect his ability to perform. Malocclusions in the mouth are often a major factor in the development of periodontal disease. Many horses will show no signs that anything is amiss until the disease process is well underway.
What exactly does dental disease in horses mean?
Dental disease refers to any abnormal condition of the teeth, gums or structures surrounding the teeth such as the periodontal ligaments.
How common is dental disease in horses?
All horses have some degree of dental disease. This will vary from a very mild malocclusion to severe periodontal disease, infection and tooth loss.
Is periodontal disease painful?
Yes, just as is humans periodontal disease is a very painful process. It destroys healthy tissue and bone making simple tasks such as eating very unpleasant.
Can poor dental health affect the performance of my horse?
Yes, performance horses are asked to bend and flex at the poll in all disciplines, to varying levels. This means that the horse must be able to have a full range of motion, without proper dental care malocclusions can interfere with his ability to do this. Dentistry also ensure that the horse is comfortable when ridden with the bit.
Does it only affect older or geriatric horses?
No, all horses are affected. Dental examinations should begin soon after birth and continue throughout their lifetime for early identification of problems.
What is the adverse health impact of periodontal disease on a horse?
In other animals, including dogs and humans, research has demonstrated that bacteria from the mouth can make its way into the bloodstream, causing major systemic infections. In severe cases this bacteria can lead to a severe infection in the heart, called endocarditis. This can prove fatal.
What is the best protection from dental disease?
As the saying goes , "An ounce of prevention of worth a pound of cure." By having a qualified dental practitioner provide regular dental maintenance you can help ensure that your horse does not suffer the effects of periodontal disease or premature tooth loss.
Is it true that dental maintenance can add years to my horse's life?
In addition to advancements in nutrition and veterinary medicine, dentistry is thought to be one of the main reasons why horses today can live well into their 30s and even 40s.
Is dental disease the only oral health problems horses' face?
No, there are many anatomical structures in a horse's mouth besides the teeth and gums. They include the tongue, larynx, salivary ducts, mucous membranes and the palate to name a few. Each structure may have disease such as but not limited to inflammation, infection, trauma or neoplasm's (tumors).
Can horses still suffer from inflammation if they don't have dental disease?
Inflammation is characterized by heat, pain, redness and swelling. If any structure in the oral cavity besides the teeth and gums has any of these symptoms then yes, inflammation is present.
What are some of the causes?
Bacterial, viral or fungal infections, trauma, foreign bodies & neoplasm's.
What causes cuts on cheeks and ulcers?
Horse teeth are hypsodont, which means they are high crowned, they also continue to erupt throughout the horses' life. The continual eruption combined with the normal forces of mastication (chewing) cause the formation of sharp points on the outside of the upper cheek (rear) teeth and inside of the lower cheek teeth. The points may be extremely sharp and cause lacerations and ulcerations of the cheek and tongue.
What are malocclusions?
Malocclusions are when teeth are misaligned and otherwise known as a bad bite. Malocclusions occur when teeth are out alignment causing discomfort and mechanical restrictions. The horse will then chew irregularly and inefficiently reducing feed efficiency. Head tossing, turning and resistance are a few of the performance problems that may also be noted. A few of the terms used for malocclusions are hooks, waves, ramps and steps which are single words describing the shapes of the teeth involved in the malocclusion.
What is equilibration?
Equilibration begins with the mechanical reduction of the malocclusions to eliminate restrictions in the horses chewing motion. The dental arcades (rows of teeth) are shaped (odontoplasty) to maximize efficiency with minimal reduction in tooth occlusal (chewing) surfaces. This process reestablishes the normal biomechanical forces of the horse's mouth.
Is equilibration the same as floating?
No, floating is a carpenter's term used for sanding or smoothing. While this is good to remove sharp points that cause the cuts and ulcers on the cheeks it does not reduce or remove malocclusions found on equine teeth.
Will equilibration prevent or take care of dental disease?
Proper equilibration of equine teeth will help to balance the chewing forces thus reducing the effects of mechanically induced dental disease. However, equilibration alone is not sufficient to treat diseases such periodontal inflammation, gingivitis and calculus formation.
Does a horse need to be equilibrated AND need dental care?
All horses will benefit from equilibration and from treating or preventing any dental disease that is within our means to do so.
Do horses get plaque?
Yes, most commonly around the incisors and canines.
This is all new to me. Why haven't I heard about horse dental care before?
A significant portion of our current understanding and advancement in equine dentistry has occurred in the last 15 years. Each year, new therapies are developed allowing us to take better care of our horses. Just as ultrasound has changed the way we view many medical conditions, the use of a full mouth speculum has changed the way we view and ultimately treat equine dental disease.
Am I supposed to brush my horse's teeth?
While brushing has been tried on horses for plaque and calculus control, it is often very difficult to find a willing patient, especially if gum soreness is present from gingivitis and/or periodontal disease.
So daily dental care can affect the overall health and quality of life of my horse and really make a difference?
This is certainly true and is well documented by medical and veterinary science. Disease in the oral cavity may enter the bloodstream and shower the entire body with toxins which can adversely affect our overall health.
What age should I start having my horse's mouth orally
During a foal's first veterinary exam, a dental examination should be performed to identify any dental irregularities and continue throughout their lifetime at 6 -12 month intervals.
My horse is 25 years old and has had no dental care. Isn't it too late to begin?
It is never too late. You can make significant improvements in your horse's quality of life through proper dental care. Older horses develop sharp points & malocclusions just as younger horses do. They often have significant calculus formation, gingivitis and periodontal disease. Further evaluation may reveal loose, decayed or split teeth which may require extraction. Proper treatment of these conditions will improve your horse's golden years.
What can I expect that healthymouthTM will do for my horse?
Improve the horses' oral health in a healthy way (as the product is 100% natural), by reducing the formation of oral bacteria and plaque formation, reducing painful inflammation and gingivitis. HealthymouthTM has also been clinically proven to aid in the healing of lacerations and ulcerations of the gums and cheeks.
How does healthymouthTM work?
It works by the daily and continual drinking of healthymouthTM added to your horse's drinking water. The longer your horse is on healthymouthTM, the better the results. And, yes, if your horse stops drinking healthymouthTM, the benefits will cease as well. (No different than if you stopped brushing your teeth or using mouth wash).
Is healthymouthTM only for older horses with dental disease?
No. All horses can benefit from the ingredients in healthmouthTM. Young horses can also suffer from dental disease and horses without dental disease often suffer from painful inflammation caused by other trauma: the environmental or from what they are fed. Young horses also benefit from the healthymouthTM as a treatment aid after extractions such as wolf teeth.
What are the signs I should look for to know that healthymouthTM is working?
Horses suffer in silence however, when his mouth health starts to improve, when inflammation is reduced and the accompanying pain you may notice that he is eating more, any drooling may decrease, he handles better, his behavior improves, he has more energy, his coat shines and his eyes are brighter. You can also visually inspect the gums; if they are pink rather than a red or purple color, less swollen and irritated then healthmouthTM is doing its job!
How much will this cost me a day?
HealthymouthTM for a healthier, happier horse will cost you $1.00 a day.
Should and can healthymouthTM be used in conjunction with equilibration?
Yes, healthymouthTM can be started immediately after equilibration and continued as directed.
Can it replace floating?
No, healthymouthTM does not replace floating or equilibration.