Why cleaning your tongue is important?
Posted 14 Feb, 2019
We are all very familiar with the importance of brushing our teeth, but there is more to maintaining good oral hygiene than just brushing and flossing.
Not maintaining good dental hygiene can have long and short-term effects on your oral health. The most common short-term implications can include bad breath and tooth discolouration. Continuous neglect of dental hygiene in the short-term can lead to more serious and long-lasting implications, including tooth decay and gum disease.
It is important to brush your teeth correctly, which includes brushing from the back of your mouth to the front of your mouth in a gentle, circular motion, twice daily. It is recommended to have the toothbrush bristle at the gum line on a 45° angle to achieve a consistent oral clean. Beware of brushing side to side too hard as it could cause damage to your teeth and result in receding of the gums.
It is commonly understood that brushing and flossing your teeth improves overall dental health. This cleans the teeth and removes food particles, but doesn’t provide a complete mouth clean. A large portion of the harmful bacteria in the mouth is stored on the rough surface of the tongue. Therefore, if your teeth have been cleaned but the tongue has not, after a few hours, the bacteria from the tongue will spread onto the ‘clean’ teeth.
That is why it is also important to brush your tongue. Brushing your tongue is a simple step that many people neglect, not realising its importance. Introducing tongue brushing to your daily routine will help eliminate the harmful bacteria that breeds on the tongue.
This step offers many short and long-term benefits that can provide lasting good oral health. A known short-term benefit of cleaning your tongue is the reduction of bad breath. Brushing the tongue assists in removing a layer of mucus that is not achieved by only brushing the teeth. Removing the mucus not only reduces bad breath but can help to prevent the build-up of bacteria. In more severe cases, a build-up of this bacteria can lead to the development of tooth decay and other long-term dental health issues.
Many people struggle with properly cleaning their tongue and are unsure on what products and methods they can use. One method is to use a toothbrush to gently brush the surface of the tongue in circular motions. Be cautious of not brushing too hard as it can cause damage to the tongue and your taste buds. Another effective method is using a tongue scraper. A tongue scraper is a small, rounded tool made from plastic or metal which is used to scrape off any dead cells, debris and bacteria that has built up on the tongue. Another benefit of tongue scraping is improving your sense of taste. Research suggests that scraping the tongue twice daily enhances the sensitivity of the taste buds which helps distinguish certain flavours.
Thoroughly brushing and flossing your teeth, with the implementation of tongue brushing or scraping is optimal for good oral hygiene. These two methods combined will help ensure your oral health is maintained and reduces risk of any short or long-term health issues.