How Often Should You Float Your Horses Teeth


Horses are the perfect animal. They’re strong, fast, and gorgeous. But what many people don’t know is that horses also have teeth! And like all animals with teeth, they need their teeth floated periodically to ensure optimal dental health. When you hover over your horse’s teeth, it removes any plaque or tartar buildup on the surface of the tooth, which can lead to cavities and gum disease if left untreated for long periods.

The frequency at which a horse should get its teeth floated depends on how often they eat hay or other roughage that may cause them to build up tartar quicker than usual due to their constant gnawing process while chewing these foods. In this article, I will discuss “How Often Should You Float Your Horses Teeth.” So let s get started.

How Often Should You Float Your Horses Teeth

A Detailed Discussion on How Often Should You Float Your Horses Teeth:

The purpose of this article is to educate horseback riders on the frequency needed for floating your horse’s teeth. In theory, a horse should have his front teeth floated every six months and his back teeth every 12 months. That being said, most people do not need their horse’s teeth floated that often and most horses would probably be fine with their teeth sailed once or twice a year (which, in my opinion, is overkill anyway).

Horses like people get cavities too, and they can cause severe problems if they are not attended to promptly. Still, you must make sure not to overdo it either because we don’t want an animal that’s all floppy-mouthed (not enough room for food storage), nor do we want one that is all “icy” due to food jamming in specific areas of the mouth.

There are three things that I look for when deciding if my horse needs his teeth floated: 1) break over, 2) crack and fracture of a molar 3) tartar buildup on all of the teeth.

A good indicator for me is how the horses’ bit sits. If you do not own a lope set or one of those Curry-type bits with the moving center link, then it may be challenging to evaluate this piece of criteria unless you get your hands on some bit straightener such as a snaffle bit (which is what I use).

Once you have one, place it between points A & B where the reins sit while riding and run it backward, forth, and up and down. If the bit easily glides back and forth, then there is a good chance that your horse’s teeth don’t need floating. However, if it doesn’t go very well or has some resistance to it, you should consider having his teeth floated.

Important Criterions About Horses Teeth:

examining this mouth area

Break over:

This criterion can be evaluated by opening your horse’s mouth (with no bits between his molars) and feeling how much room he has available for food storage with his lips closed. If you do not have an assistant or someone else holding him for you while examining this mouth area, use a Blue Heeler type muzzle to keep his jaws open (you can get these at any feed store).

A break over would be where the upper and lower molars meet while the horse is eating. If you notice that your horse’s lips do not touch and there is a gap between his upper and lower teeth (see picture below), then he likely has a break-over problem. Horses who rely on their tongue to eat weanlings will be more susceptible to this condition.

Crack & Fracture of a Molar:

This criterion can also be evaluated by opening your horse’s mouth (with no bits between his molars) and feeling how much room he has available for food storage with his lips closed. Once again, if you do not have an assistant or someone else holding him for you while you examine this area of the mouth, use a Blue Heeler type muzzle to keep his jaws open.

If you notice that your horse has a fractured or broken back molar, then he likely needs his teeth floateAgain, it is far better to get these types of issues attended to before they become advanced problems.

Building  Up Tartar

Tartar Build Up:

This criterion can be evaluated by running your fingers along the fronts of all of your horses’ incisors (front teeth). If there is some rough feeling on any of them, then they need to float immediately! A horse’s incisor will eventually develop an angled “hook” shape due to chewing free-ranging grasses and other vegetation.

Still, if it becomes too sharp, it could easily cut the insides of their cheeks while eating, leading to infection, among other serious health problems.

Cushing’s Disease:

This is a condition in a horse who, due to an impairment of the pituitary gland, has too high cortisol (stress hormone) levels in their bodies. Increased levels of this hormone cause increased amounts of calcium to be released from your horse’s bones which can eventually lead to fractures or other bone-related problems if left untreated.

All horses should have their teeth floated at least once every six months while undergoing treatment for Cushing’s Disease, but it is best to get them floated every 3-4 months while receiving this type of care.

Frost Teeth Due To Age:

As some breeds age into their mid 20’s and beyond, you will start noticing that their teeth will begin to grow more circular. Although these horses still have their permanent teeth and can still chew, the extra sharp edges on their molars can cause problems with wearing down correctly.

Additional floatings would be required to help these older horses maintain healthy mouths free from pain and disease.

Horses With Lumpy Jaw:

This is also known as Hypertrophy of the Alveolar Bone or Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex. Horses afflicted with this disease/disorder produce too much bone tissue within their jaws, which causes them not only to have severely lumpy mouthes but are often subjected to tooth root infections.

Treatment options include surgery which consists of removing as much of the excess bone as can be safely done, but this is a costly and very invasive procedure. Suppose you have a horse with a lumpy jaw. In that case, it is highly recommended that they receive additional floatings regularly to help prevent their teeth from becoming severely overgrown, which could require surgical intervention to correct.

often develop tooth decay


Horses whose teeth are not regularly floated will often develop tooth decay/cavities between their molars.

Although horses can live quite comfortably with one or more missing teeth, the issue becomes critical when the infection spreads beyond the tooth itself and causes your horse pain or other complications such as swelling the inside of your horse’s cheek or dropping off their lower lip to nerve damage.

You Can Check It Out to: Make a Neck Rope for Horses


I hope you have obtained all the necessary instructions on “How Often Should You Float Your Horses Teeth.” Ensure proper precautions while performing the process. Thank you and have a nice day!

Jennifer Branett
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