We all expect our teeth to feel smooth as we run our tongue across it. While teeth may have slight ridges and grooves, it is a relatively smooth surface. However, sometimes our teeth feel rough which we often describe as furry. It is a fine roughness that may be isolated to some teeth or affect most of the teeth that you can reach with your tongue. We usually feel this furriness in the morning but after brushing, flossing and gargling with a mouth wash, the teeth return to its smooth texture.
However, there are some instances where furriness of the teeth may persist even after brushing. When there is no chips, cracks or other form of physical damage to the tooth structure, persistent furriness of the teeth may be due to plaque formation. This is by far the most common cause. Plaque forms on the teeth everyday. Therefore a daily dental hygiene regimen is necessary to remove it. If plaque is not removed, it will eventually form into a harder substance known as tartar. It provides a surface for bacteria to cling to and eventually cause tooth decay.
Remember that while plaque can be removed by you with regular brushing and other dental hygiene techniques, tartar cannot be removed as easily. It requires treatment by a dentist or hygienist to be removed. Residue from certain foods, beverages and other substances taken through the mouth can also adhere to the teeth and cause a furry feeling. This may be seen with very sugary foods and drinks like cola sodas and cigarette smoking. Although it is not yet plaque immediately after consumption, the residue can increase plaque and tartar formation in time.
A furry feeling is not a symptom of any disease in most instance. If it arises sometimes and quickly goes away after brushing your teeth then it is nothing to worry about.
Brush Your Teeth Twice Daily
You should brush your teeth at least twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening. Some people may brush three times daily, around midday if time permits. However, it is not advisable to brush more than three times a day on a regular basis as it can erode the outermost layer of the tooth known as the enamel, especially if you brush hard. Make sure that you brush for at least 2 to 3 minutes at a time and use a toothpaste containing fluoride. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and ensure that you brush thoroughly between the gaps of the teeth and at the edge of the teeth where it meets with the gum. Food tends to get trapped in these areas and plaque is more likely to form here.
Floss At Least Once Daily
Brushing alone will not suffice. Although it is effective, small food particles can get stuck between the teeth. These micro-particles are eventually covered with a thin film made up of mucus, epithelial cells and bacteria. This film allows the bacteria to consume the food particles without any interruption. The only way to undo it is to brush and floss. By flossing, you can dislodge the food particles before it forms plaque. Flossing allows you to reach the areas where your brush cannot. Along with using a mouth wash, it further protects your teeth beyond just brushing with a fluoride toothpaste.
See Your Dentist Twice A Year
Regular dental checkups are essential. Even if you are disciplined when it comes to daily dental hygiene, plaque and tartar could still be present. There may already be cavities and tooth decay despite the lack of symptoms. Furthermore there are other orodental diseases, like gingivitis, which your dentist may detect during routine visits. Tartar cannot be removed with brushing so your dentist or dental hygienist may instead have to do a cleaning treatment like scaling. Remember that even if you have the perfect pearly-whites, plaque and tartar may already be present without you knowing it.
Consider A Dental Sealant
A more effective measure for preventing the harmful effects of tartar, namely cavities and decay, is to have a dental sealant applied over your teeth. This must be done by a dental professional. It is not suitable for every person so your dentist will be in a better position to advise you on the viability of dental sealant for your teeth. A dental sealant forms a thin plastic film that is painted over the chewing surfaces of certain teeth. It is important to remember that dental sealant is just added protection for the teeth. A good dental hygiene regimen performed at least twice a day is still essential to reduce plaque and tartar and prevent cavities and decay.
Eat A Balanced Diet
Your daily diet also plays a major role in your dental health. A balanced diet ensures that you teeth gets all the nutrients necessary to maintain healthy state. Some foods can help to remove food particles on and in between the teeth. Eating frequently also ensures more saliva production which has antimicrobial effects. The key is to eat nutritious foods that are not very processed. The more refined a food, the more likely it is to contribute to cavities and decay. Fibrous foods like celery are broken down much slower and can also help to remove food particles. Stay away from the refined carbohydrates like candy, chocolate and sweet baked goods.
Quit The Tobacco Products
Smokers and tobacco chewers tend to have more plaque and tartar than people who do not use tobacco products. The more you smoke a day, the more likely you are to develop plaque and tartar. Cigarette smoking causes different types of tooth problems. Residue from tobacco tends to adhere to the teeth and grows in time. It is often found at the back surface of the front teeth in cigarette smokers where it is seen as dark stains. The residue can eventually accumulate to the point where it gives the teeth a furry feeling. Brushing and flossing cannot get rid of all the tobacco residue and smokers usually need cleaning treatments like scaling more often. Quitting smoking and chewing of tobacco is obviously the best solution.
Article reviewed by Dr. Greg. Last updated on December 21, 2013