Unlike cats, dogs and humans, horses teeth erupt continuously throughout much of their lifespan although, unlike some rodent species, they are born with a finite amount of tooth to utilise. Evolution has equipped the horse with large batteries of robust grinding teeth, ideal for the horse’s natural feeding behaviour which is long periods of grazing on tough grass.
Unfortunately, those same traits which make horse dentition good for grazing mean that they may not be well suited when domesticated. Stabled horses spend far less time chewing than their free-range cousins, and the feeding of concentrates also alters the pattern of chewing movements. This can upset the natural balance between tooth eruption and tooth wear, allowing sharp or overgrown teeth to develop. Routine dental care seeks to address these problems and can also optimise the performance of athletic horses by improving head carriage and responsiveness to the bit.