If you find yourself asking, “Can I get my teeth as smooth as my dentist?” the simple answer to this question, unfortunately, is no. No matter how committed you are to keeping your teeth clean, it’s impossible to get that same smooth clean we achieve at your regular checkups. That said, there are ways you can help maintain smooth teeth longer after a cleaning. Here we explain why you can’t achieve the same level of cleanliness as we do, with tips to prolong that just-professionally-cleaned feeling.
Exactly Why Can’t I Get My Teeth As Smooth As My Dentist?
It’s all about tools and technique. We use proper, professional tools to remove the plaque and tartar you can’t reach with your toothbrush or floss. Even the most meticulous teeth brushers fail to reach plaque that knows exactly where to hide so you can’t reach it. Between your teeth and along your gumline, plaque has a chance to harden and develop into tartar.
While your toothbrush and floss can help keep plaque at bay, it takes a special dental tool called a scaler to remove tartar. Along with our scalers, we use tooth polishing in hand with an abrasive paste that gently but effectively removes anything left behind. It’s this combination of special tools that achieves that smooth feeling on your teeth after your cleaning.
Why Does The Smoothness On My Teeth Go Away?
We get asked this question a lot. Plaque is present in your mouth as soon as you eat or drink anything. Because of this, it doesn’t take long before it starts to develop again. Plaque and tartar are responsible for that rough feeling on your teeth. Although we remove it, it takes a very dedicated hygiene regime to help reduce plaque to at least try to keep that roughening at bay.
What Contributes To Rougher Tooth Surfaces?
In hand with plaque and tartar, there are several things that work together to make your teeth feel rougher, including:
As you probably know, your teeth have several layers. The protective outer coating is the enamel, the hardest layer of your teeth. Its job is to prevent decay from penetrating into the soft dentin below. However, enamel erodes over time, especially if you allow plaque to build up. Eating and drinking acidic food and beverages such as citrus can also lead to erosion. Erosion causes damage, including tiny pits or holes that create a rougher surface on teeth. Always mention issues such as tooth sensitivity to your dentist, as this can be a sign of erosion. At your dental checkups, we look for erosion and signs of decay, and can take steps to prevent further damage.
Food and Drink
Foods and drinks containing a lot of acid and sugar contribute to the feeling that there’s a coating on your teeth. Even healthy foods can create that feeling. For example, foods containing oxalic acid such as spinach, rhubarb, and sweet potatoes create an unpleasant “fuzzy” feeling on teeth. You can avoid sugars and oxalic acid to help keep teeth smooth.
Lack of Saliva
There are a number of things that can reduce saliva production, including some medicines, medical conditions, and simply not drinking enough water. A dry mouth can leave an unpleasant sticky feeling in your mouth because you aren’t continuously flushing away debris and bacteria when you swallow. When you don’t produce enough saliva or drink enough water to stay hydrated, you also create an imbalance in your oral microbiome.
As a result, you have more bad bacteria that cause decay and health issues than you do good bacteria that help fight off illnesses. This leaves a coated feeling on teeth, gums, and tongue. Your dentist can recommend how to prevent and reduce dry mouth.
Can I Help Get My Teeth Clean And Smooth At Home?
Yes, you can follow these steps to help your teeth feel smoother and cleaner between your dental cleanings:
Use Proper Brushing Technique: Using a gentle downward motion with less pressure is the best way to remove plaque without damaging your enamel. Aggressive brushing is bad for your teeth and can also contribute to receding gumlines. When gumlines recede, it exposes the rough dentin below the gum line, which is then vulnerable to decay. The best way to remove rough plaque and keep your gums intact is to use an electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor and timer.
Choose Proper Tools: If you choose a hard-bristled toothbrush, it causes damage just like aggressive brushing. Hard bristles enhance the abrasive action of your toothpaste, which results in the erosion of your enamel. As mentioned, erosion feels rough and leaves your teeth and gums vulnerable to decay and infection.
Replace Toothbrushes Every Two To Three Months: Toothbrushes accumulate germs and bacteria that can lead to gum infections and tooth decay. Also, your bristles will begin to spread out and flatten, so they become less effective at removing plaque. Replacing your toothbrush and electric toothbrush heads every two to three months ensures you have a clean toothbrush in good shape. If you have a cold or are ill, always buy a new toothbrush once you recover.
Don’t Brush After Meals: What? Yes, many patients make the mistake of brushing their teeth immediately following their meals. However, when you do this, the acids from the food you ate are still in your mouth, which gets pressed into your tooth enamel by your toothbrush. This increases the risk of erosion and decay. Always wait at least 30 minutes before brushing. Remember, brushing twice a day is all it takes to remove plaque and keep your teeth smoother for longer.
Brush Your Tongue: Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush that has a rough head designed to brush your tongue. The texture on the back of the brush area is designed to remove the coating you feel on your tongue in the morning or at bedtime. By removing germs and debris from your tongue, you can reduce the plaque on your teeth.
Although you can’t totally achieve the smoothness you get following a professional dental cleaning, these tips will help keep your teeth cleaner between checkups.