Keeping Your Tongue Clean and Why It’s Important

Not many people realize that the tongue is an important part of oral hygiene. For this reasonit is often overlooked even by those who rigorously follow a program of flossing, cleaning, and regular oral examinations. The fact is, that along with your gums and teeth, your tongue can harbour the harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay, gum diseases, and mouth odour.

Why your tongue needs regular cleaning

By its very nature, your tongue collects and holds onto dead skin cells, food particles, and of course, harmful bacteria. It does this due to the millions of tiny high spots, or papillae as they are known. It is this process that leads to the white coating that characterises an unhealthy tongue which in turn leads to bad breath and an unpleasant taste in the mouth.

The bacteria that live in the white plaque on your tongue will have a field day with those fresh clean gums and shiny white teeth that many of us pay so much attention to during our oral hygiene routines. Ironically, all that hard work could be wasted if you don’t consider your tongue as a part of your overall oral health, because bacteria can pass from there onto your teeth and gums. This can cause tartar build-up which in turn will lead to an increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay.

The dangers of bacteria

Along with removing the plaque where harmful bacteria are known to lurk, the tongue can have a direct impact on your overall health if left un-cleaned. The aforementioned bacteria often spreads to other areas of the body and have even been linked to heart issues. Bad breath is also a common issue caused by this plaque and this is a further sign that there are unpleasant germs in it. A clean tongue also enables your taste buds to work much more effectively which means you will be able to enjoy your food more too.

So how often should you brush your tongue?

Dentists recommend cleaning the tongue at least twice daily and the ideal time is during your regular oral hygiene routine. Dry mouth during the day can also be alleviated by cleaning your tongue and rinsing with mouthwash afterwards. Most dentists will be able to explain to you the techniques used and advise you concerning what type of device is likely to achieve the best results.

The most efficient way to clean your tongue

Starting at the back and brushing towards the tip of the tongue using a soft toothbrush and a small amount of toothpaste is an ideal method of cleaning. Rinsing with warm water afterwards is also recommended and mouthwash too when you clean during your normal dental hygiene routine. If you want to achieve the best possible results you could always invest in a special tongue scraper.

These scrapers are becoming increasingly popular and they work really well using a soft material that works in actually gently peeling off the thin layer of plaque that often forms on the tongue.

As with anything else that you reuse in your oral hygiene routine the scraper should always be rinsed after every use with warm water and stored in a dry place until the nexttime it is needed.

Working together with your dentist

The more you are able to do in maintaining good oral hygiene including cleaning your tongue, the less work you will make for your dentist and the healthier your teeth will be. Correct cleaning definitely reduces plaque and tartar levels which mean less descaling and overall healthier gums and teeth.

If you want to know more about taking care of your oral health or you just need a helpful and friendly dentist, you need to contact the team here at Signal Hill Dental Centre now!