August 1, 2022
What is your oral hygiene routine? Flossing, brushing, and finally rinsing your mouth with a mouthwash? No tongue scraping?Well, you are missing out on better dental care.
Flossing, brushing, and finally rinsing your mouth with a mouthwash? No tongue scraping? Well, you are missing out on better dental care. Tongues have a rough texture full of small bumps called papillae which house the taste buds. Odor-causing bacteria, debris, and dead cells get accumulated between these bumps. A build-up of bacteria over many days can lead to many negative effects.
85% of the time, bad breath or halitosis is caused by the bacteria that covers your tongue. When you neglect cleaning your tongue for days, there’s a build-up of the foul-smelling hydrogen sulfide and mercaptans produced by these bacteria. So next time when you can’t get rid of bad breath despite brushing your teeth properly, remember that the problem could be your tongue.
The bad bacteria on your tongue can travel to your teeth and contribute to plaque build-up. This could cause gingivitis, an early form of gum disease. If not treated, it could even lead to tooth loss.
The biofilm on your tongue keeps your taste buds from working at full efficiency, therefore affecting your sense of taste. A biofilm of bad bacteria builds up faster for people on regular medication, smokers, people with dry mouth, those who brush inconsistently, and people with a yeast infection.
Brushing - Before brushing your teeth, take a minute to also brush the surface of your tongue. Gently follow a back-to-front and side-to-side motion using a soft-bristle toothbrush.
Scraping - You can also use a tongue scraper. Follow a gentle back-to-front motion at different angles multiple times.
Spit away the saliva produced during tongue cleaning and rinse your mouth properly with water or mouthwash afterward. First-timers might get a gag-reflex while tongue cleaning. In that case, start from the middle of the tongue to the front and slowly move further back with each stroke. Eating a lot of raw vegetables naturally cleans your tongue because of the roughage, but even then, cleaning your tongue every day is still recommended.
There are many different kinds available in the market these days. Brush tongue scrapers have a long handle like a toothbrush with soft bristles on one end. They aren’t big enough to cover the entire mouth so you’ll have to clean multiple times from every angle. Plastic and metal tongue scrapers are basically wires bent in a U-shape. You can use stainless steel and copper tongue scraper for a few years if you clean and dry them properly after every use. Sometimes, the brushes too have a dotted texture behind their heads which can be used to clean the tongue.
Tongues can give a lot of information about our overall health. Therefore if you find your tongue persistently showing unusual color, rashes, ulcers, patches, etc., consult a dentist immediately. Our tongue helps us speak, swallow, taste, and a lot more, so why not take good care of it?