Why Are Horse Teeth Yellow? Tips To Whiten Naturally!

By Zunnun Ahmed •  Updated: 08/12/22 •  5 min read

Have you ever looked inside your horse’s mouth? If you have, you probably asked yourself – why are horse teeth yellow, and what can you do to make them white? Horse teeth are different from human teeth since they grow and change with time.

It is totally normal for the teeth of your horse to turn yellowish or brown. This doesn’t necessarily mean the teeth are dirty – there is more to that. I will help you understand why horse teeth have this color and how you can whiten them naturally. Read on to find out more!

What is the color of a horse tooth?

If you have the opportunity to check your horse’s teeth regularly, you will notice that the teeth change in various stages of life.

A horse has between 36-42 teeth on average but this depends on the sex or whether the horse develops extra teeth in the empty spaces.

Like humans, horses too have different types of teeth like premolars, wolf teeth, canines, and incisors.

When a horse is young, they grows milk teeth which are called deciduous teeth. These teeth are normally creamy white, and they are replaced by adult teeth when the horse gets older.

As the horse grows, they develop permanent teeth which at first look clean but they gradually change their color.

They start to turn brown, and with time they get darker. This is why you see older horses have yellow teeth.

Related: Do you know why horses grind their teeth? Learn the important facts behind this behavior and why it’s essential to keep your horse healthy.

horse teeth

Why are horse teeth yellow?

What causes the yellowish color of horse teeth? To answer this question, it is good to understand the structure of horse teeth. Humans have an outer cover called enamel on their teeth. For horses, the outer hard cover is called cementum. Unlike enamel, cementum is more porous and softer.

Additionally, it gets stained easily, and this is why the horse’s teeth turn brown. The soft nature of cementum absorbs food pigments when the horse eats, and this leads to stains on the horse’s teeth.

It is normal for your horse teeth to turn color, so you should not be bothered to remove the yellow coloring. However, if the equine teeth of your horse are discolored, you should be concerned because this is tartar.

Tartar is also a yellowish substance that is harder and develops along the line of the gum. If you notice this discoloration at the base of the teeth, you should call an equine dentist to remove it to prevent the occurrence of gum disease.

Pro Tip: You should ensure the teeth of your horse are filed down or floated every year to remove sharp or painful edges on their teeth. This is important if your horse eats soft food like alfalfa and hay.

Can you whiten a horse’s teeth naturally? 

If it is completely normal for your horse to have yellow teeth, why should you be bothered about whitening them? brushing your horse’s teeth is not recommended because of the type of diet they take. They are herbivorous animals so they feed on pants, hay, and grass. Such food creates an alkaline environment that doesn’t affect their teeth.

Horses’ teeth turn yellow because they are covered by cementum. You should not bother whitening them naturally because they are meant to be yellow. The best thing you can do is to allow nature to do its work. Simply provide your horse with fresh grass and clean water, and this works better than brushing your horse’s teeth.

And if you have to brush their teeth, use plain water and a toothbrush to scrub their teeth. However, know that horses can bite so you should be careful if you have to brush their teeth.

Related: Do horses eat chickens? Break the myth of horse’s digestive system

How to tell your horse has poor dental health?

Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to check the dental hygiene of their horses. If you neglect the dental hygiene of your horse, it can end up suffering from pain and oral disease.

According to Joe Williams, Equine technician from Old Mill Vet Equine Service, many people think that they should only check the dental health of their horses or donkeys when they start to lose weight.

It is good to check the dental health of your horse every year with a qualified Equine Dental vet. This gives owners signs that their horse has poor dental health and takes the right measures.  The following are common indications of poor dental health for your horse:

Related: Toothpaste For Horses! Solve common dental problems such as tartar, plaque, and gingivitis.


At this point, I believe you understand why a horse’s teeth are yellow. Instead of enamel, the horse’s teeth are covered by cementum, which is easily stained from food pigments hence the yellow color. You don’t have to worry about the yellow teeth or think about brushing your horse teeth because it is normal and doesn’t harm the tooth.

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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