Did you know that your daily oral hygiene routine should include more than just cleaning your teeth and gums? Where else can bacteria live, you ask? Well, you might be surprised to know that your tongue is a breeding ground for bacteria. This is why your dentist believes it’s important to use the proper tools to keep your tongue clean. Not only will it give your mouth an all-around refreshing feel, but you’ll be eliminating the possibility of bad breath, too! Find out what else your dentist has to say about keeping this important part of your mouth clean.
Why is it Important That I Clean My Tongue?
Your tongue is used more often than you think. Every time you eat, talk, or swallow, your tongue helps to create sound and move food in the right direction. While we may not think about how our tongue moves each time we use it, everything we consume comes into contact with it, which means, it gathers a lot of bacteria over time.
As bacteria builds, it can lead to bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis. When you put off cleaning your tongue, the bacteria can transfer to your teeth and gums. This can cause plaque and tartar to build around the gum line and on the surface of your teeth and lead to gum disease and/or tooth decay.
How Can I Keep it Clean?
If you are unsure of how best to clean your tongue, you can always check with your dentist. She will offer a few suggestions, each generating the same great results.
If you decide not to purchase an actual tongue scraper, you can use a toothbrush. Simply wet your toothbrush and begin to gently scrub your tongue. Moving the brush from the back to the front, this will push away any bacteria living on the surface. Cleaning your tongue while cleaning your teeth is a great option because of the toothpaste that can be used. Not only will you be brushing your teeth, gums, and tongue, but you can also take care of cleaning your cheeks and the roof of your mouth.
Just remember not to scrub too hard, as it can cause discomfort.
If you prefer an actual tool designed to get the job done, you can invest in a tongue scraper. Found at most drug stores, this device removes a layer of mucus and any bacteria as it glides along the surface of your tongue. All you have to do is use minimal pressure and move the scraper from back to front. You’ll rinse it off each time and repeat until you’re done.
Maintaining your oral health is more than just keeping your teeth and gums clean. So, take a little bit of extra time and make sure your tongue is bacteria-free, too!
About the Author
Dr. Megan Shelton, DMD, completed her undergraduate degree at Wichita State University before earning her Doctor of Dental Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry. Not only is she committed to growing and improving within the field of dentistry, but she is also committed to continuing education, completing hours each year. She and her team provide the highest caliber of dental care possible, and you can expect a fun and supportive dental team to help you achieve desired results. To learn more about Dr. Shelton or for questions about our services, visit our website or call (760) 434-9800.