You probably brush twice a day and floss at least once, but do you clean your tongue? Many people skip this essential step in their daily oral hygiene routine which can lead to bad breath and similar issues. It is important to remember that your tongue is covered with bacteria. The tongue is not smooth and contains many elevations and crevices that can hide harmful microorganisms that often cannot be removed with mouthwash alone. Learn more about tongue cleaning and why you should clean your tongue daily.
Reasons to Clean Your Tongue
Cleaning the tongue is more important than most people think. Here are just a few reasons why you should start brushing your tongue daily.
- Cleaning your tongue removes odor-causing bacteria. The tongue is an organ that collects a host of microorganisms, some harmful and some not. When you brush your tongue on a regular basis, you help remove the bacteria responsible for halitosis, or bad breath.
- Cleaning your tongue enhances taste. A buildup of bacteria and plaque on the tongue can create a film that acts as a barrier between the taste buds and the food and beverages you consume. By removing this film, you can enjoy your food more thoroughly.
- Cleaning your tongue reduces the risk of periodontal disease. In addition to causing bad breath, bacteria on the tongue can contribute to gum disease and similar oral health problems. If gum disease is not promptly treated, it can progress to periodontal disease which occurs when the gums become infected due to the formation of deep pockets between the gums and teeth.
- Cleaning your tongue reduces the risk of oral thrush. An overgrowth of yeast in the mouth can cause a case of oral thrush. This type of mouth infection can cause the formation of white patches on the tongue. Although antifungal medications are available to treat oral thrush, cleaning your tongue regularly can help prevent a reoccurrence.
- Cleaning your tongue boosts your immunity levels. Many people are not aware that the tongue is actually a critical line of defense for your immune system. Cleaning the tongue on a regular basis helps prevent toxins from becoming absorbed into the body. In turn, this can help improve the immune system.
How to Properly Clean the Tongue
The tongue can be effectively cleaned with a tongue scraper or standard toothbrush. Both methods are simple to execute and should not be painful.
When using a scraper tool, place the scraper at the back of the tongue and gently pull the tool forward towards the front of the tongue. Next, move the scraper across the surface of the tongue multiple times at different angles. Finish by rinsing your mouth with water to wash away any excess food or debris that may be left on your tongue.
If you prefer to use a manual toothbrush to clean your tongue, start by placing a small dab of toothpaste onto the brush. Starting at the back of your tongue, brush the tongue gently as you move towards the front. Whether you clean your tongue with a scraper or toothbrush, be sure to thoroughly clean the tool before its next use.
Many people wonder if there are any risks or side effects of cleaning the tongue. For most people, the answer is no. However, some people may experience some challenges when cleaning their tongue, such as stimulating the gag reflex. To help lessen this uncomfortable sensation, avoid placing the scraper too far back on your tongue at first. As you get used to cleaning your tongue, it should become easier to do without setting off your gag reflex.
There is also a risk of cutting your tongue with the scraper during cleaning. You can help prevent this from happening by inspecting the scraper tool for any rough or uneven edges. Also avoid applying too much pressure to the tongue when cleaning as this could harm the taste buds or break the skin.
Speak to Our Experts
Want to learn more about the importance of tongue cleaning or have concerns about the health of your tongue? Schedule an appointment with Vero VIP Implants & Periodontics in either our Vero Beach or Melbourne, FL office.