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What It Means If Your Teeth Feel Rough

Published date field Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

You may have a friend who's a little rough around the edges. Perhaps you saw an early rough cut of a movie. Or maybe you're always telling your kids to stop the roughhousing. These are manageable situations that won't affect your oral health. But when your teeth feel rough, that does affect your oral health. Sometimes that could be due to tartar buildup. But often, rough teeth usually mean there's an issue with your enamel health and how it may be eroding. Join us as we make this rough situation a little smoother as we dig into your causes and prevention below.

Tooth Enamel

Before diving into the cause and prevention of your "rough teeth," we should break down what feels rough when you touch it with your tongue. More than likely, that's your enamel, the outer layer of your teeth. It's the hardest substance in your body and acts as a shield against any germs or harm that could attack your teeth. While it is tough and strong, it still has vulnerabilities that can lead to erosion. When your enamel and teeth erode (usually from acid), it leaves your tooth not as smooth as it normal. Fortunately, you're able to address and treat the erosion, so your enamel is as healthy as possible. And then your teeth won't feel so rough.

Causes of Enamel Erosion

There are many factors, scenarios, and situations that could be contributing to your enamel erosion leading to your rough teeth. The most likely causes for your enamel erosion include:

  • Citrus
    • Foods with acid can erode your teeth, but citrus fruits, especially lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, are quite acidic. The health benefits should be enjoyed in moderation.
  • Soda
    • The combination of sugar and acid found in nearly every soda is eye-popping. Try limiting to 1-2 (or less) per week, rather than enjoying 1-2 daily.
  • Acid reflux
    • The highly acidic regurgitation from acid reflux doesn't help your enamel. If you suffer from acid reflux, avoiding any foods or drinks that may trigger the unfortunate condition is advised.
  • Pregnancy
    • Pregnancy is also linked to causing increased acidity, which leads to erosion. Be sure to brush and rinse when you're able.
  • Chlorine
    • Swimming a lot in a chlorinated pool with the water occasionally coming into contact with your teeth could lead to erosion. It is recommended to only letting non-chlorinated water pass through your mouth.

The trend in all of them? Acid. It doesn't need to be eliminated, but instead limited — especially the acid in your diet. Moderation is easier than you may think.

Strengthening Enamel

Can you restore your tooth enamel? Unfortunately, you cannot. However, you can strengthen it, and that's through the remineralization process. To do this and fortify spots on your teeth beginning to erode, you must use oral hygiene products that contain:

  • Fluoride
  • Calcium

Many products can protect your teeth and prevent the eroding from getting any worse.

Preventing Enamel Erosion

You've learned you can strengthen your enamel. But what does it take to fortify your teeth to prevent enamel erosion? Good question. There are three big things you can try that should help:

  • Drink fluoridated water
  • Chew sugarless gum
    • By chewing it, you stimulate saliva production, which can cleanse your enamel and remineralize your teeth.
  • Brush with enamel-strengthening toothpaste
    • Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste which is designed to harden your enamel and protects against cavities.

There are simple dietary, life, and oral health choices you can make to avoid tooth erosion, strengthen your enamel, and rid yourself of rough teeth. If you're unsure where to start, talk to your dentist. They'll make sure your rough going turns into smooth sailing.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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