Teeth do need regular attention – at least once per year by a fully qualified Equine Dentist or Veterinary Surgeon, or sooner if you suspect any problems.
When we return to our stable or field after hacking, schooling etc we naturally remove our tack. When we remove our saddle we check out the back. We check the sternum where the girth has been. We remove our brushing boots, or bandages and check the legs. We pick out the feet, checking the sole, frog etc. We remove the bridle, sponging or brushing off any sweat residue. Much attention is given to all of the above making sure that everything is normal. But how many of you check the mouth as this most sensitive part of the horse’s anatomy has also been ‘in use’?
You are probably the only person that has the opportunity to check your horse’s mouth on a regular basis for anything unusual, including any signs of bruising, cuts, etc. Check out the tongue and don’t forget to look underneath as ulcers and trauma can occur here. The tongue may be lifted gently in order to look underneath but do not grab it and hang on as it is a muscle and damage may occur. Check out the upper and lower palate and bars for any sign of rubbing. Don’t forget to look inside the cheeks in case the flesh has been pushed into the teeth by the cheek of the bit. This is not an uncommon injury and is often only found by the Dentist. Obviously if the external corners of the lips are rubbed it will be clearly apparent, but don’t forget to turn the corner out to check for rubbing inside.