Last Updated on April 16, 2022 by Fabiola L.
Have you ever wondered how many teeth does a horse have? These amazing animals have equally amazing teeth, to help them chew all that lovely grass and hay! Let’s find out everything we need to know about horses teeth, including some amazing dental facts!
What Kinds Of Teeth Do Horses Have?
The teeth of a horse are the result of thousands of years of evolutions, and are incredibly well-designed to help them survive. A horses teeth will need to chew many pounds of hay and grass every day, which can cause a lot of wear and tear to the teeth.
To combat this, the horse has a uniquely developed set of teeth, each responsible for a different job. Let’s find out what the different types of teeth in a horse’s mouth are like, and how many of each kind they have.
Incisor Teeth – How Many Teeth Does A Horse Have
The incisor teeth are at the very front of the horse’s mouth – if you gently pull back the lips of the horse, you will see the incisors.
These teeth are relatively small, with a flat wedge-shape and pointed edge. This edge is used to grasp and tear food when the horse eats, such as grass and hay.
The horse has 12 incisor teeth in total. A young horse also has 12 temporary incisor teeth. These erupt when the foal is young, and are replaced by permanent incisors by the time the horse is around four years old.
Behind the incisors is a long gap, called a diastema. This is where the bit of the horse’s bridle sits when the horse is ridden. It is also where some unusual teeth may be located!
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The canine teeth are one of the unusual teeth of the horse. Not all horses have canine teeth, and they are far more likely to be present in male horses than female horses.
Canine teeth are conical, pointed teeth that are located in the diastema – the gap between the incisors and the premolars. The function of these teeth was for fighting and self defence, although our modern-day domesticated horses have little use for them.
This is why they are more commonly found in male horses, who had a greater need to fight rivals and defend their mares and foals from predators. If a female horse does have canine teeth, they are normally very small.
If they are present, a horse can have between one and four canine teeth, one in each diastema.
Wolf Teeth – How Many Teeth Does A Horse Have
Wolf teeth are another unusual tooth that no longer serves any function in the domesticated horse. These teeth are remnants of molars, that have decreased in size as they are no longer needed.
Wolf teeth typically erupt when the horse is relatively young, between 6 and 18 months of age. They are located in the diastema between the incisors and cheek teeth, normally fairly close to the first premolar.
Not all horses will have wolf teeth, and those that do have wolf teeth may not have a full set of four wolf teeth. These teeth are equally as common in male and female horses.
Some horse owners choose to have their horse’s wolf teeth removed, as they can interfere with the placement and action of the bit.
A horse has 12 premolars in total – 3 on each dental arcade. These are large teeth with a wide, ridged grinding surface, to help the horse chew large quantities of roughage. The premolars, along with the molars, are commonly described as the cheek teeth.
Horses have temporary premolars, that are replaced over time by permanent premolars.
Molars – How Many Teeth Does A Horse Have
Unlike the premolars, horses do not have any temporary molar teeth. They have 3 molars on each dental arcade, equalling 12 molar teeth in total. The molars are similar in size and appearance to the premolars.
The cheek teeth of a horse are tightly packed together in a line to give a highly efficient grinding system for food. These teeth are gradually worn away over time, and the tooth erupts slowly over a long period of time to compensate for this.
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How Many Teeth Does A Horse Have?
The teeth of a horse are normally counted according to the number on each dental arcade. This is row of teeth that stretches along the expanse of one half of each jaw, from the front to the back. So a horse has four dental arcades – two on the top jaw, and two on the bottom jaw.
On each dental arcade, the horse has 3 incisors, 3 premolars, and 3 molars, making 9 teeth in total. Multiply this by 4, as per the number of arcades, and we can see that a horse has 36 teeth.
However, if a horse also has a full set of canine teeth and wolf teeth, it can have up to 44 teeth in total!
How Many Teeth Does A Horse Have Summary
So, as we have learned, horses have varying numbers of teeth according to their age and gender. Every adult horse will have at least 36 teeth, but some will have more. This is because some horses have canine teeth and wolf teeth, whereas others do not.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on how many teeth does a horse have! Does your horse have all of his canine and wolf teeth? Or maybe you’ve got a younger horse that has not lost his baby teeth yet? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!
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How Many Upper And Lower Front Teeth Does A Horse Have?
The front teeth of a horse are called incisors. A horse has 12 incisor teeth in total - 6 on the top jaw, and 6 on the lower jaw.
What Is The Maximum Number Of Teeth That A Horse Can Have?
Not all horses have the same number of teeth, as some teeth have been lose or shrunk over thousands of years of evolution. The maximum number of teeth that a horse can have is 44.
How Many Teeth Does A Female Horse Have?
Female horse normally have between 36 and 40 teeth, depending on whether they have wolf teeth or not.
How Many Temporary Teeth Does A Young Horse Have?
A young horse has 24 temporary teeth in total. As the horse matures, these teeth are gradually lost and replaced by permanent adult teeth.
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