When you run your tongue over your teeth, the surface usually feels smooth and slick. Despite tiny grooves and pits in your teeth, your tongue should slide over your incisors and canines without any interruption or noticeable change in texture.
But sometimes late at night or early in the morning, your teeth may feel slightly rough, gritty or even fuzzy. When you look in the mirror, you don't see any food lingering in your mouth, but your teeth still feel as though they've donned tiny, invisible sweaters.
What Causes That Fuzzy Feeling?
That fuzzy feeling occurs for a variety of reasons, though the most common include:
When you think of acidic foods, you may immediately think about soft drinks, beer, lemon juice or grapefruit. Dark, leafy vegetables might not even make it to your list.
However, spinach, rhubarb, kale and beets all contain varying amounts of oxalic acid, which ranks as a 1.3 on the pH scale. As you chew, the oxalic acid crystals coat your teeth, creating a gritty or chalky feeling.
Your body produces long-chain sugar molecules, or mucopolysaccharides. Due to their positive charge, these molecules attract water and other fluids until they become slippery. As a result, they are an effective component in synovial fluid, enabling joints to slide smoothly past each other. Furthermore, these molecules appear in saliva, coating and lubricating food for swallowing and digestion.
But the same molecules that attract water also attract bacteria. The bacteria then produce a biofilm which builds up on the tooth, creating a rough, furry feeling.
Freshen Your Mouth With These Easy Steps
Fortunately, that furry feeling is easy to fight. When you follow these easy steps, your smile should feel smooth and clean once more.
1. Eat Crunchy Fruits or Vegetables
Crunchy, fibre-rich foods have a rough surface that scrapes away at the bacteria on your teeth. Furthermore, the fibre stimulates saliva
production, which rinses away food particles lingering on your teeth's surface.
2. Sip Water Throughout the Day
Water restores your mouth's natural pH balance after you eat acidic foods. And like your saliva, water rinses way sugars and starches that would otherwise feed the bacteria in your mouth. Additionally, water binds to the mucopolysaccharides in your saliva to create a slippery substance, so your teeth feel smooth rather than rough.
3. Brush 30 Minutes After Eating
Acidic foods weaken your enamel, increasing your likelihood of tooth decay. When you brush immediately after eating, you may push the acids deeper into your teeth, causing permanent damage. But that doesn't mean you should skip brushing entirely. The longer you leave acids, bacteria and plaque on your teeth, the greater chance they have of eating away at the enamel and damaging your teeth's pulp.
To strike a healthy balance, wait 30 minutes after eating and then brush your teeth. Try to brush each tooth's surface; otherwise the bacteria will continue to build up in the places you miss.
4. Don't Forget to Floss
Your toothbrush can remove bacteria and acid build-up on the front and back of your teeth. But even the best bristles can't reach in between your teeth, so you need floss to finish the job. Ideally, you should floss as often as you brush. But most experts agree that you should aim to floss at least once daily to ensure smoother, healthier smile.
Do Your Teeth Still Feel Furry?
The above techniques will freshen your mouth and remove some bacteria. But if your teeth still feel fuzzy after cleaning, don't wait to schedule an appointment with your dentist.
Your dentist can provide a more thorough clean as well as point out any developing oral conditions that could affect your teeth's surfaces. If you regularly experience that furry feeling on your teeth, your dentist may even recommend a dental sealant to protect your teeth from bacterial damage and decay.