Diastema is a space between the adjoining elements where feed is easily collected, and can be shifted by pressure of the opposite element. This is one of the most painful conditions for a horse, yet it does not always cause trouble feeding. If a horse has feeding problems it can be seen by the dropping of feed. The problem may manifest itself at any age, but is most often found with older horses. The problem is often periodontitis, an inflammation of the gums. In extreme conditions it can lead to the loss of an element.