Good oral hygiene involves brushing teeth twice daily, flossing regularly, and visiting your dentist twice a year for a check-up. What many people don't realize is that when you're cleaning your teeth, it's also very important to clean your tongue.
Although your tongue won't develop cavities, it's still a target for bacteria. The human tongue is a large organ that hosts most of the bacteria that reside inside the mouth. Your tongue doesn't have a smooth surface, so bacteria will accumulate between the taste buds. The tongue is home to a variety of crevices and elevations that allow bacteria to hide unless it's removed.
The buildup that develops on the tongue isn't just saliva; it's a group of organisms, referred to as a biofilm, that stick together on the tongue's surface. Drinking water or rinsing with mouthwash isn't enough to get rid of it. The bacteria on the tongue can cause bad breath and even damage to the teeth. The bacteria has to be removed by brushing it away.
Every time you brush your teeth, you should also brush your tongue. Gently brush back and forth and side to side, and rinse thoroughly with water. Begin at the back of the tongue and work your way to the tip. Don't brush too hard or for too long, so that you don't break the skin on the tongue's surface. A tongue scraper, made of a soft, flexible material that gently peels away the thin layer of debris on the tongue's surface, may help. Rinse the scraper with warm water after each use.
By cleaning your tongue each time your brush your teeth, you'll remove the harmful plaque and bacteria that can cause gum disease and bad breath. Clean taste buds will help you enjoy your food more, as it will taste a lot better!
For more information about the benefits of cleaning your tongue, please contact:
Webster Cosmetic Dentistry, Ltd.
1121 Warren Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60515