How To Remove Tartar From Horse Teeth At Home? (Step By Step)

By Zunnun Ahmed •  Updated: 08/21/22 •  5 min read

A healthy horse makes a happy owner. Seeing your horse in pain can be a frustrating experience, right? Because horses are grazing animals, they experience several dental problems over time.

It could be tooth decay, sharp enamel points, broken teeth, retained baby tooth or wolf tooth, tartar build-up, and much more.

All these can affect the overall health of your horse and hence affect his performance. That is why it is recommended that horse owners to seek a veterinary oral health council for proper dental care.

Today, our main focus is plaque and tartar buildup on horse teeth. I will take you through tips on how to remove tartar from horse teeth for better oral hygiene. 

Let’s dive into more details!

What causes tartar on horse teeth?

Okay, I know you are thinking: What is tartar?

Have you ever checked your horse’s mouth at home or during equine dentist visits and seen a yellow-brown deposit on the teeth?

If you have, that is exactly what we call tartar.

The buildup commonly happens on the lower canine and sometimes you can find it on the incisors. The deposit develops near the part where salivary ducts open to the mouth. Research shows that tartar is commonly present in horses that feed on food with high sugar content.

If the plaque is left to build on the teeth, it can lead to periodontal disease. Untreated periodontal disease can cause gum disease, tooth decay, and eventually tooth loss. It is important to take horse dental checkups every year even if your horse has no dental problem.

The dental plaque makes the gum look irritated and sometimes you can see slight bleeding.

In some cases, you might notice inflamed gums, foul smells, and well. The bad smell is an indication that the teeth are rotting and this can be painful for the horse.

Related: Learn the answer to “do horse teeth keep growing?” in this article – the answer may surprise you!

What causes tartar on horse teeth?

How to remove tartar from horse teeth?

Tartar buildup can lead to periodontal disease.

Research shows that 60% of horses develop this condition. Untreated periodontal disease requires intervention for regular veterinary teeth cleanings to remove the buildup.

However, you can also remove tartar at home.

Do you want to know how? Let’s find out!

Brushing your horse teeth

A good home remedy for removing tartar buildup is brushing your horse teeth. Sound crazy, huh? Yes, brushing your horses teeth regularly with toothpaste and a vet-recommended toothbrush eliminates the buildup.

Get a toothbrush with a large head and brush gently to prevent irritating the gum line. Another better option is using a damp towel to eliminate food buildup.

This leaves the teeth clean and prevents dental decay. If you cannot brush teeth every day, your equine dentist can give you dental chews or an oral rinse.

Dental scalers

Use dental scalers to remove plaque on the teeth at home. Avoid using human scalers. You can look for pet scalers made for cats and dogs. These professional teeth-cleaning tools also work well in horses.

Important tip: When using dental scalers, do that with caution to prevent causing small scratches on the teeth. This can cause teeth damage and further diseases.

Additionally, it is good to ensure your horse is calm. If he moves suddenly, the scaler can cut the gum line leading to bleeding or pain.

Dental air abrasion

This is another safe method you can use to get rid of tartar. The method uses a tool like a small sandblaster that removes the decay. It uses fine streams of particles like baking soda mixture, aluminum oxide, or silica to remove tooth decay.

Does white vinegar help with tartar?

Yes, white vinegar works perfectly to cut through the tartar. Mix white vinegar and warm salt water in a bowl. Apply the solution to the parts of the tooth with tartar buildup. The solution removes the tartar formed on the teeth and between the gums.

Why is it important to remove tartar?

You should remove tartar as soon as you see the buildup on your pet’s mouth. Tartar is formed by a combination of organic materials and saliva which are deposited on the teeth. If you let tartar accumulate on the canine teeth, it results in inflation of the soft part of the tooth. With time it will lead to degradation.

Tartar buildup is the major cause of gingivitis, and in severe cases, it leads to tooth decay and inflamed gums. I’m sure this is not what you want for your horse.

Removing tartar promotes good oral health for your horse. You can have the buildup removed by a professional or follow the above methods I have given for home removal.

Related: How To Clean Leather Horse Riding Gloves?


Tartar buildup is common in horses because of the type of food they eat. Maintaining your pet’s teeth through regular dental checkups can prevent oral surgery and advanced dental disease.

You can prevent tartar accumulation by doing home or regular veterinary cleanings.

Frequent horse dental checkups are recommended and your vet will give you proper instructions on the right way to brush and rinse your horse’s teeth.

Consider your horse’s dental services a priority and you will avoid all dental-related issues. Follow the advice given by your equine dentist to keep your pet’s teeth healthy.

Zunnun Ahmed

We are a group of horse enthusiasts. We want to provide information and tips to help others learn more about horses, how to care for them, and how to enjoy them.

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