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 rough-housing. These are manageable situations that won't affect your oral health. But when your teeth feel rough, that's a different story. Sometimes this is due to tartar build-up. But often, rough teeth signal an issue with your enamel health and indicate that it may be eroding. Join us as we make this rough situation a little smoother by looking into the causes and prevention options below.
What It Means If Your Teeth Feel Rough
Before diving into the cause and prevention of "rough teeth", we should break down what exactly feels rough when you touch the tooth with your tongue. More than likely, you are feeling the 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 enamel is tough and strong, it still has vulnerabilities that can lead to erosion. When enamel erodes (usually from acid), this impacts the smoothness of your teeth. Fortunately, you're able to address and treat the erosion so your enamel is as healthy as possible. In return, your teeth won't feel so rough.
There are many factors, scenarios, and situations that could be contributing to your enamel erosion and leading to rough teeth. The most likely causes for your enamel erosion include:
- Foods with acid can erode your teeth, but citrus fruits (especially lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits) are quite acidic. Although they have health benefits, these foods should be enjoyed in moderation.
- The combination of sugar and acid found in nearly every fizzy drink is astounding. Try limiting your intake to 1-2 (or fewer) such beverages per week, rather than making them a daily treat.
- Acid reflux
- The highly acidic regurgitation from acid reflux doesn't help your enamel. If you suffer from acid reflux, it's best to avoid any foods or drinks that may trigger the unfortunate condition.
- Pregnancy is also linked to causing increased acidity, which leads to erosion. Be sure to brush and use mouthwash regularly.
- 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 let only non-chlorinated water pass through your mouth.
What do all these factors have in common? Acid. It doesn't need to be eliminated, but limited — especially the acid in your diet. Moderation is easier than you may think.
Can you restore your tooth enamel? Unfortunately, you cannot. However, you can strengthen it through remineralisation. To do this and fortify spots on your teeth that are beginning to erode, you must use oral hygiene products that contain fluoride and calcium.
Many products can protect your teeth and prevent the eroding from getting worse.
You've learned that 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
- The fluoride in water helps fight tooth cavities by remaining in your saliva, allowing it to absorb into your enamel.
- Chew sugarless gum
- By chewing on gum, you stimulate saliva production, which can cleanse your enamel and remineralise your teeth.
- Brush with enamel-strengthening toothpaste
- Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste designed to harden your enamel and protect 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.