Everyone knows the importance of brushing and flossing every day but did you know that tongue cleaning was just as important? The tongue harbors the majority of the bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria are considered major contributors to periodontal problems, plaque on the teeth, tooth decay, gum infections, gum recession and even tooth loss1. Things like bacteria and food debris can become stuck or lodged on your tongue, hiding in the nooks and crannies. This causes a coating on your tongue that is quite visible if you don’t clean your tongue on a daily basis. Brushing the tongue removes the bacteria and debris from your tongue which not only helps prevent bad breath, but it helps prevent periodontal disease and other oral health problems like tooth decay. Read on to find out about other benefits of tongue cleaning and how to clean your tongue.
Here are Some of The Problems Associated with Bacteria in Your Mouth
Per Wikipedia, many clinical studies concluded that oral bacteria are associated with a number of serious systemic diseases including:
- Cardiovascular problems (heart attack, cerebral stroke),
- Pneumonia due to inhaling bacteria present in the mouth,
- Premature birth, and low fetus weight at birth time,
- Increased risk of diabetes patients,
- Osteoporosis of the jaw and generalized,
- Infertility problems for men1
Some of the Benefits of Cleaning Your Tongue
- Help Food Taste Better – Since your taste buds are entrenched in your tongue, they won’t respond as well is they are covered by bacteria. Cleaning your tongue can make sure you can truly enjoy the taste of your favorite foods!
- Fresh Breath – Bad breath or chronic bad breath is often caused by bacteria cultures that grow on your tongue. This is often seen as the “white stuff”, especially on the back of the tongue. As the bacteria matures, it begins to emit sulfur-based odors which results in bad breath. Things like mints, gum and mouthwash work well to cover up the bad breath but just for a short time. You need to brush, floss, and clean your tongue to help eliminate bad breath. Tongue cleaning is great for smoker, garlic, onions, or coffee breath.
- Reduce the Plaque on Your Teeth – Bacteria on the tongue is often called “soft plaque” and it migrates from the tongue to the teeth. If you don’t remove it within 12 hours while it is still soft, it attaches to the teeth and becomes hard plaque. Cleaning your tongue regularly greatly reduces the amount of soft plaque on the tongue and hard plaque on the teeth.
- Helps with Your Overall Health – Tongue cleaning helps prevent periodontal problems, plaque on the teeth, tooth decay, gum infections, gum recession and even tooth loss.
How to Clean Your Tongue
Cleaning your tongue is super easy and will add less than a minute to your daily oral care regimen. Here are several options on how to clean your tongue.
According to Alan Frame, D.D.S. “the correct way to brush the tongue is to brush the entire surface of your tongue, both on top and underneath. Then, rinse thoroughly to get rid of the food particles and bacteria. If brushing your tongue triggers your gag reflex, use a tongue scraper instead.”
Sheila Wolf, RDH, says that whether you use a tongue scraper or toothbrush, you want to use a gentle scraping action from back to front, being careful not to go too far back, as you will invoke a gag reflex. She recommends going as far as comfortable.
Tools You Can Use to Clean Your Tongue
Here are a couple of products I recommend to help you optimize your oral health.
- Ecofam Anti-Bacterial Toothbrush – This amazing toothbrush has bristles that are infused with silver using the same technology used in hospitals to eliminate bristle bacteria during storage. Silver is known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties and is used to treat medical ailments since the days of early medicine. Ecofam bristles can eliminate up to 99% of disease causing bacteria and other microorganisms that can live in your toothbrush.
- Oralcare Tongue Cleaner – Used by dentists and dental hygienists, the Tongue Cleaner is scientifically designed to effectively clean the tongue. Enjoy fresh breath and a clean, healthy mouth, along with restored taste. Prevent oral hygiene problems before they develop!
Here are some examples of unhealthy dry tongues
Photos Courtesy of Dr. Harold Katz, Therabreath Founder www.therabreath.com
If you’re still on the fence as to whether you need to clean your tongue or not, go to a mirror, stick out your tongue and look at the color. Is it pink or is it dry or coated? You can also take it a step further and gently scrap your tongue against your teeth as you put your tongue back in your mouth. You will most likely see residue on your teeth that may have a yellowish color. Now are you convinced this is something you want to do? I am and I do clean my tongue every day.
Orabrush Health Benefits of a Clean Tongue
Wagner Dental What You Should Know About Brushing Your Tongue