When it comes to teeth, we have more in common with dogs and cats than we do with our horses. As brachydonts, our teeth have short crowns – the part that protrudes from the gum. But horses are hyspodonts, meaning that their teeth feature tall, enamel-covered crowns that extend well below the gum surface and continue to grow, or “erupt”, throughout life.
Until now, much of our knowledge about the structures surrounding horses’ teeth has been based on studies in brachydont species. A European research team has revealed that while equine gingiva (gums) do indeed share similarities with brachydont gingiva, they also have characteristics of their own.