What It Means If Your Teeth Feel Rough

The human body is remarkably good at alerting you when something is wrong. It tells you when to ice that sprained ankle or to call your doctor because you've had a chest cough for two weeks. The mouth is no exception: If your teeth feel rough, something may be wrong with your smile. Rough teeth often indicate that your tooth enamel may be eroding.

Tooth Enamel

The sole job of tooth enamel is to defend your pearly whites against damage. Even though it's the hardest substance in the human body, it's not invincible. Enamel is susceptible to erosion by acid and accumulated bacteria.

Enamel loss is irreversible. However, there are steps you can take to prevent erosion, starting with learning its causes.

Causes of Enamel Erosion

There are several causes of enamel erosion. Citrus fruits like lemons, limes and oranges can demineralize enamel. Eat citrus fruits in moderation to reap the vitamin benefits without damaging your teeth. Another major culprit is soda. Plaque uses sugar, which carbonated soft drinks are loaded with, to wear away enamel. Drink more water, instead.

Acid reflux and pregnancy can both cause enamel erosion. Stomach acids from reflux regurgitate into the throat and mouth, reaching the teeth. In this way, morning sickness in pregnant women can similarly affect enamel. Stomach acids collect on the teeth and cause them to deteriorate.

Even the high chlorine content in swimming pools can erodes enamel. Pool water can come in contact with your teeth if you accidentally ingest some water while swimming.

Strengthening Enamel

While enamel can't be fully restored, since the human body doesn't make it, it can be partially repaired and strengthened through a process called remineralization. Teeth can be remineralized with products containing fluoride and calcium. The fluoride and calcium fortify weak spots in the existing enamel. Fluoride guards against the effects of food, drinks and anything else that is corrosive.

Preventing Enamel Erosion

Fortifying enamel and avoiding erosion requires good oral care habits. Including preventive maintenance in your daily routine may be easier than you think.

Be sure to brush at least twice per day and to floss once per day. Use an enamel-hardening toothpaste to sustain your existing enamel while also preventing cavities.

Try to drink fluoridated water. The fluoride in the water helps ward off tooth decay. When ingested, fluoride remains in saliva, allowing time for the fluoride to absorb into the enamel.

One way to stimulate saliva production is by chewing sugar-free gum. Saliva cleanses the teeth's surfaces of harmful particles and acids that can cause decay. Saliva can also remineralize teeth because of its mineral content.

If your teeth feel rough and you think your enamel might be eroding, consult your dentist. They can diagnose an enamel erosion issue and determine the proper treatment.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Common Conditions During ADULTHOOD

As we get older, dental care for adults is crucial. Here are a few of the conditions to be aware of:

Gum disease – if your home care routine of brushing and flossing has slipped and you have skipped your regular dental cleanings, bacterial plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth. The plaque and tartar, if left untreated, may eventually cause irreparable damage to your jawbone and support structures, and could lead to tooth loss.

Oral cancer – according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, men over the age of 40 have the greatest risk for oral cancer. About approximately 43,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the mouth, tongue or throat area, and the ACS estimates that about 7,000 people will die from these cancers. The use of tobacco products and alcohol increases the risk of oral cancer. Most oral cancers are first diagnosed by the dentist during a routine checkup.

Dental fillings break down – fillings have a life expectancy of eight to 10 years. However, they can last 20 years or longer. When the fillings in your mouth start to break down, food and bacteria can get underneath them and can cause decay deep in the tooth.