Whole Horse Health - The Feet/Teeth Connection

 
 
Natural Balance Dentistry focuses on restoring bio mechanical motion of the jaw, bringing comfort and balance to the TMJ which will affect your horse emotionally as well as psychologically. This will help with increasing muscle mass and maximizing performance to optimum dietary absorption, from comfort to balance, it all starts with the mouth.
— Wendy Bryant, NBD

So let's list some of the highlights of how the horse's mouth affects the WHOLE horse - including the HOOVES.  

  Before dental work. Photo courtesy of Dr Tomas Teskey DVM

Before dental work. Photo courtesy of Dr Tomas Teskey DVM

1.  Each horse's mouth is individual. 

2.  The horse should maintain the length and inclination of the front teeth that was established by age 5 and remain that way for the lifetime of the horse. 

3.  If this balance is not maintained, then abnormal rotation of the TMJ (temporal mandibular joint) occurs and this affects not just the mouth but the WHOLE HORSE ... from head to HOOVES. 

4.  The purpose of Natural Balance Dentistry is to treat the cause, not the symptoms, by maintaining a natural length and inclination of the incisors FIRST. Trying to balance the molars without ensuring the proper balance of the incisors simply cannot be accomplished properly.

5.  The general trend of today's Equine dentist is to apply a centred alignment; a 'levelling' to the front teeth and molars and do so with every horse the same ... a removal of the points. What NEEDS to happen is for the Natural Balance Dentist to anatomically align the mouth, incisors and molar bite planes, so that it fits the individual to its optimal neurological function.

 
The incisors are the guidelines to the TMJ (and dictate how that dynamic joint moves) and molars are stabilizers. If the molars are “slicked” by over floating or power tools, you will lose stability in the biomechanics of that joint and thus the body.
— ~Spencer LaFlure

6. Simply removing the points do not address the INDIVIDUAL horse and results in imbalances in the movement of the horse, the body mass of the horse, the proprioceptors (nerves that determine balance) as well as the neuromuscular functioning of the horse as a whole. 

So you're still asking, So what? What does this have to do with the HOOVES of the horse? 

 
Natural balance in the mouth and the jaw’s ability to move forward, backward, left and right, up and down, is equal to the whole body’s ability to do the same. The jaw’s range of motion dictates the neck’s range of motion, which in turn dictates muscle mass in the rest of the body.
— Spencer LaFlure

So there you have it ... the NATURAL balance, the correct balance of the horse's MOUTH affects the ENTIRE rest of the body ... especially the NECK. 

Imbalance of the TMJ causes a loss of muscle mass in the flanks... It also affects the entire REST of the body... all the way down to the hooves. 

  The jaw’s range of motion dictates the neck’s range of motion, which in turn dictates muscle mass in the rest of the body…   

The jaw’s range of motion dictates the neck’s range of motion, which in turn dictates muscle mass in the rest of the body…
 

And we all know, how a horse moves dictates the natural wear of the hooves, in as much as the trim, the form of the hooves, affects the movement of the horse.

Power floating teeth has become very popular. And while it's popular for the ease of the equine 'dentist', it might not be the best for the horse! Most horses have to be sedated to have power floating done and then damage to the teeth, themselves, can occur as the abrasive surface of the teeth is ground away. The abrasive surface of the teeth is necessary for proper grinding of grass and other forages. In some cases, the teeth are 'floated' too much which does not allow for proper TMJ movement, balance or the proper mastication of food. 

So if you have a horse that is not 'extending out' or 'tracking up' or wears his hooves unevenly or imbalanced, if the hooves are breaking down or the horse is losing mass and muscle; your horse can't bend to the left or right or pick up a proper lead or perhaps the horse is stumbling frequently or, a tell-tale sign that the mouth isn't right - if your horse is quidding his hay and dropping grain ... it may not be this or that or the other 'thing' but may REALLY be a serious matter with the mouth.  

Trying to "fix" the hooves without properly balancing the mouth is not going to correct the issue.

One MUST look to the WHOLE HORSE; not just a piece of it.

Now we get to nutrition and diet and how that affects the hooves ... if the horse cannot chew properly then he does not get proper nutrition. Without proper nutrition the hooves cannot be healthy and that takes us to the old adage,

No hoof,
No horse.