You know how important it is to brush your teeth every day in order to keep them clean, but what about the rest of your mouth. The tongue sees a lot of food and drinks through your mouth every day, but it is often overlooked when it comes to oral health. Let’s look at the benefits of keeping your tongue clean and the best way of doing this.
Why you should clean your tongue
Just like your teeth, bacteria build up on your tongue throughout the day and especially as you eat. The food that passes through your mouth essentially “feeds” the bacteria, allowing it to thrive. While bacteria won’t cause decay to your tongue like it does to your teeth, it can cause a variety of problems. Most commonly, failing to clean your tongue is a big cause of bad breath. The bacteria that build up on your tongue can also easily spread to your teeth and gums, which can increase your chances of tooth decay and gum disease.
How to clean your tongue
But how exactly do you clean your tongue? The simplest way to add tongue-cleaning to your regular oral hygiene routine is to use your toothbrush to clean it after brushing your teeth. Just gently brush your tongue using your regular toothbrush with a small amount of toothpaste. Brush as far back as you can comfortably go. Then, rinse your mouth out with water afterward. Incorporating this into your twice-daily toothbrushing will help you remember to do it.
Some toothbrushes even have a rough surface on the other side if you flip it over. This is designed for cleaning your teeth. Another option is to buy a tongue scraper, which is a small metal device used to gently scrape away the bacteria from the surface of your tongue. Remember to only apply a very light pressure when using this tool, and rinse away the debris in between scrapes.
Mouthwash can also help to rinse away any debris and freshen your breath, and some are good for cleaning the entire mouth of bacteria. If you have severe problems with bad breath or if you struggle with brushing or scraping your tongue, then you could instead use a medicated mouthwash or rinse to kill the bacteria causing halitosis.
Even a healthy diet can help to keep your tongue in good condition. Rough and high-fiber foods help to keep your tongue clean because they wear away the little bumps, known as papillae, from the surface of your tongue. If these become too long, then they more readily trap food debris and bacteria.
If you need more oral hygiene advice or a dental check-up, then contact Advance Family Dental for pain-free dentistry in Advance, NC.