It’s pretty common knowledge that you should brush twice a day, floss regularly, and maintain good oral hygiene by avoiding sugary drinks and staining substances. But there’s one trick to making your mouth feel fresher and your breath more pleasing – and that is to keep your tongue cleaner.
It might sound unorthodox but think about it. Your tongue is in constant contact with your teeth and kept moist by the saliva produced inside your mouth, meaning that bacteria can accumulate on its surface.
Are Mouth Bacteria Harmful?
There is an innumerable amount of bacteria that live inside your mouth, which generally don’t pose any harm. Actually, it’s completely normal.
Unfortunately, these bacteria also contribute to plaque formation on the surfaces of your teeth. And this leads to cavities and tooth decay. Also, after feeding on bits of food left over in your mouth after a meal, these bacteria produce waste byproducts, including sulfuric compounds. These compounds contribute to what makes your breath smell terrible.
This problem also occurs when you have a dry mouth, also known as xerostomia. Saliva is a neutralizing agent and keeps bacterial growth at bay, so a lack of it will exacerbate the problem.
Your Tongue Plays an Important Part in your Oral Hygiene
Just like your teeth are covered by a thin layer of plaque that you must brush away every day, your tongue is covered by a layer of what you’ve eaten. This layer can give it a pale, white, or colored appearance and feel “unclean.”
What Can You Do? Use a Tongue Cleaner!
Fortunately, you can achieve a clean, fresh feeling by just cleaning your tongue. Paying particular attention to this vital organ can get rid of the film that covers it and reduce bacterial buildup. So you end up with its natural fleshy, pink appearance and a significant reduction in bad breath. But that’s not all! The tongue is a sensitive organ, and cleaning its top layer can improve its overall sensation, as well as your sense of taste.
How Do I Clean My Tongue?
You can clean your tongue just by including it in your regular brushing routine. Experts recommend brushing for a full two minutes, making sure to cover the total area of the teeth and gumline to achieve maximum benefit. In the end, stick your tongue out and brush each area of the tongue gently, spitting out the debris as it accumulates. You’ll be surprised at how much gunk is just sitting on the surface of the tongue! For extra freshness, rinse your mouth with mouthwash afterward.
Purpose Built Tongue Cleaner Tools: Are They Effective?
Some tools are made specifically for tongue cleaning, called “tongue cleaners” or “tongue scrapers.” They are relatively inexpensive and can be made of stainless steel, copper, or plastic. They have a rounded end that scrapes your tongue and a handle to hold. A dedicated tongue scraper can remove significantly more bacteria and debris than an ordinary toothbrush.
To use one:
- Add the tongue cleaner to the end of your brushing routine.
- Brush your teeth as usual until just before you rinse.
- Stick your tongue out and position the tongue scraper at the back of your tongue.
Take care not to go too far back, as you might stimulate your gag reflex. You may want to get used to the sensation by starting in the middle of the tongue, moving further back as you get used to scraping.
Next, scrape the surface of your tongue gently from back to front. Finally, rinse or wipe off the accumulated buildup every few swipes. Again, you’ll be surprised at just how you’ve cleaned off! Rinse, and you’re done!
Our Experts Can Help You
Maintaining good oral hygiene can be a little work, but the benefits include cleaner teeth, gums, and tongue, less bad breath, and a fresher feeling in your mouth as you go about your day. Your dentists at A+ Star Smile Dental can help you get on track to maintaining excellent oral hygiene. Contact us at (713) 984-4934, and we’ll be happy to help!