When you think of oral hygiene, the first thought is likely your teeth. Unfortunately, the tongue is often forgotten in the quest for a healthy smile! Did you know that the health of your tongue can not only impact your oral health but your overall health as well? In this post, we will discuss a few of the ways your tongue can affect your oral hygiene. We will also share some tips for including your tongue in your daily oral hygiene routine!
Is Your Tongue Healthy?
The tongue is a part of the body that often goes unnoticed – until something is wrong. A healthy tongue should be pink in color with tiny, uniform bumps covering the surface. These bumps are called papillae and provide a rough texture that helps us eat. Papillae also contain both taste buds and temperature receptors, helping us enjoy our food!
If your tongue is sore, swollen, or you notice any changes in color, pattern, sensation, or appearance, it is important to schedule an appointment to eliminate any concerning health issues. So, how can your tongue affect your oral hygiene?
Your Tongue Can Harbor Bacteria
We understand the importance of brushing our teeth to eliminate bacteria that can cause decay or disease. But brushing your teeth is only half of the job! As you are eating, bacteria settles between the papillae on your tongue’s surface. Although your teeth may be rid of harmful bacteria, the bacteria on your tongue can wreak havoc on the health of your smile! By brushing or scraping your tongue as you are brushing your teeth, you can eliminate this pesky bacteria, achieving a truly clean smile!
Your Tongue Can Contribute to Bad Breath
Halitosis, or bad breath, is one thing that none of us wish to experience! Not only can bad breath be off-putting to friends and family members, but it can affect the taste of your favorite snack. The bacteria that is harbored in the crevices of your tongue can not only lead to tooth decay, but it can also cause bad breath!
Taking a few extra moments to clean your tongue will help you achieve truly fresh breath every time you brush!
Including Your Tongue in Your Oral Hygiene Routine
How exactly do you ensure that your tongue is clean and free from nasty bacteria? There are several methods you can use to clean your tongue. Most of our patients choose to brush their tongue with their toothbrushes as they finish brushing their teeth.
However, there are also special scraping tools made specifically for cleaning your tongue. It may take some practice to develop this as part of your oral hygiene routine. But, the benefits for both your oral health and your overall wellbeing are undeniable. We recommend brushing your tongue at least once a day although incorporating it into your twice-daily brushing is a great way to establish the habit!
If you have questions about how to improve your oral hygiene by cleaning your tongue, be sure to ask our team during your next visit!