When people think about oral health, the majority of them focus on flossing and brushing their teeth without realizing that their teeth only make up about 1/20 of all oral surfaces.
Did you know that there are more than 700 different types of bacteria living on the soft and hard tissues in your mouth, including the gums, cheeks and (the worst of all) the tongue?
If you aren’t regularly cleaning your tongue – the right way – then you may be making a comfortable home for these hundreds of unwanted guests. Now is the time to take action. Learn more here.
All About the Tongue
Your tongue is covered in countless tiny bumps. These bumps are called papillae, and in the small groove, they collect dead skin cells, particles of food and bacteria. This creates a coat of debris and bacteria that are essentially trapped on your tongue, resulting in bad breath and a white color to the tongue’s surface.
Additionally, the bacterial present on the tongue can begin to redeposit on your gums and teeth, even after you have brushed and flossed. This increases the likelihood of plaque and tartar building up, causing tooth decay and even gum disease.
Your Tongue’s Health
Believe it or not, your tongue’s health is just as important as your teeth and maintaining a clean and healthy tongue that doesn’t provide a home to bacteria can help to prevent other problems, too.
If you are like some, you may believe that the best way to clean your tongue is with mouthwash, but, unfortunately, this isn’t true. This is because mouthwash can’t destroy the cells of biofilm on your tongue, resulting in continued bad breath.
To fight back against a “dirty” tongue, you have to remove the biofilm coating. This illustrates why cleaning your tongue needs to be a part of your daily oral health care routine.
Tongue Cleaning 101
There are a few ways you can keep your tongue clean. You can brush it, or you can scrape it.
The most effective way to ensure your tongue is clean and free from smelly bacteria is by using a tongue scraper. Place the device at the back of your tongue and use a slight amount of pressure to remove the layer of biofilm present. You may have to do this several times to fully remove the layer present.
It is also advised that you use your tongue scraper twice daily for best results.
If you don’t have a tongue scraper, or are on the go, then brushing your tongue is fine, but you need to use some type of force (not excessive) to ensure the layer is successfully removed.
If you are still unsure whether or not tongue health is important, it may be time to see your dentist. They can provide more insight on the role of your tongue, and why keeping it clean and healthy is just as important as keeping your teeth clean and healthy. Being informed is one of the best ways to maintain superior oral health throughout life.