While the importance of brushing and flossing your teeth every day cannot be overestimated, did you know that brushing your tongue is also important? That’s right, for complete dental health, it is important to do all three. Here’s why you should add cleaning your tongue to your dental health routine.
Bacteria Live on Your Tongue
Your tongue actually houses most of the bacteria in your mouth. Although it may seem smooth, taste buds and other structures create crevices and elevations all over the surface of your tongue. As you eat and drink, bacteria hides in these spaces and actually forms what is called a biofilm (a group of microorganisms that stick together). And just plain old rinsing your mouth with water or mouthwash isn’t enough to remove the biofilm. And if all of the bacteria is not removed, it causes a host of problems.
One of the biggest benefits of brushing your tongue is eliminating bad breath. The bacteria living in the crevices of your mouth and on your taste buds can cause this somewhat embarrassing trait if not removed. If you are experiencing a sour mouth, begin brushing or scraping your tongue. Results from studies conducted to find the cause of bad breath (halitosis) revealed that 68% of the cases studied saw their poor breath cured after a thorough scrubbing. For more information on these studies click here.
Even if you don’t have bad breath you should still brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth. Why? Because, even though you obviously cannot get a cavity on your tongue, the bacteria can move from your tongue to your teeth within hours, leading to cavities.
How to Brush Your Tongue
Now that you know why you should brush our tongue regularly, how exactly do you do this? There are a few ways to clean the bacteria off your tongue.
- Toothbrush – Stick your tongue out as far as you can and brush as far back as you can stand. You can put toothpaste on the brush or dip it in mouthwash if you desire, but it isn’t necessary.
- Scraper – A scraper is generally plastic, with a smooth edge. When using one you can actually see the bacteria come off. The only disadvantage would be that it doesn’t get down into the grooves in your tongue like the bristles of a toothbrush.
- Cleaner – This tool is similar in shape to a scraper, but it has rubber bristles in order to get into the grooves on the surface.
- Floss – This might be the least effective option, but it would work if you’re in a pinch. Wrap the floss around each index finger and drag it across your tongue.
How do you know if you’ve cleaned your tongue well enough? Take a look. Most of the time you can tell if you’ve made any progress as you can see the biofilm that is coating your tongue.
The doctors and staff at The Colorado Center for Implant and Prosthetic Dentistry are available to help you determine effective solutions to all of your dental problems. If you would like more information from your Littleton area Prosthodontist, please call to make an appointment today.