Why is Cleaning Your Tongue Helpful?
You know that brushing your teeth is important, but did you know that brushing your tongue is also essential? The human mouth is home to more than 70 types of good and bad bacteria, and an overgrowth of bad bacteria can cause bad breath.
Dentists are seeing an increase in patients who brush their tongue with tongue scrapers. Tongue scrapers or tongue brushes are designed specifically to clean the surface of your tongue. These tools help freshen breath, among other benefits to oral health, by removing the surface level of particles containing bad bacteria.
Why Should You Clean Your Tongue?
Your tongue, teeth, and gums must be cleaned every day for a variety of reasons. Rather than being a flat surface as most people think, the tongue actually has lots of tiny raised bumps in anatomy, what we call taste buds. While it does a great job of flavoring the foods you love, it’s also the perfect home for the types of bacteria that cause bad breath. You should also know that if you smoke, drink alcohol and coffee, or suffer from frequent dry mouth, these can inhibit your natural bacteria-fighting saliva.
When you brush or scrape your tongue, you remove things that shouldn’t be on the surface to prevent bacterial growth. Acidic foods and small particles of food tend to stick to your teeth, which can cause bad breath. Cleaning your tongue can be a great way to go the extra mile for your mouth, but it depends on personal preference and is not a necessary step in oral hygiene like brushing and flossing. If you use a tongue scraper or toothbrush to clean your tongue, you should always do it gently to avoid irritation and injury.
What Are Tongue Scrapers?
Tongue scrapers come in a variety of shapes and sizes and work by removing the top layer of the tongue that is home to food particles, bacteria, and other forms of formation. You can effectively remove this layer by starting at the back of the tongue and pulling the scraper forward. You can also clean your tongue by gently scraping it with your toothbrush, but the tongue scraper has been specially designed with your tongue’s texture and shape in mind.
You can find tongue scrapers or brushes online or at most grocery stores. These scrapers are reusable as long as you disinfect them properly after each use. You can talk to your dentist at your next cleaning appointment to talk about tongue scraper recommendations.
Benefits of Cleaning Your Tongue
Reduce Bacteria: Your tongue can quickly become home to millions of bacterial colonies while you breathe, eat, or even sleep. The longer these types of bacteria sit on your tongue, the higher your chance of developing gingivitis, periodontal disease, and oral thrush. You can reduce the number of bad bacteria colonies on your tongue by using a tongue scraper to clean your tongue.
Better-Smelling Breath: Bad breath can be caused by many factors, including an imbalance of good and bad bacteria on the tongue. You’ll get better-smelling breath by reducing the amount of bad bacteria on your tongue.
Increased Visibility: Your tongue is an important diagnostic tool for your overall health, and changes in texture and color can mean the presence of certain diseases or vitamin deficiencies. When you use a tongue scraper or brush to clean your tongue, you gently remove the top layer of the tongue. By making tongue cleaning a part of your daily oral health routine, you will be able to detect unexpected changes on the tongue surface, such as white patches or an unusually bright red color; both of these can be symptoms of certain diseases.
Increased Taste: The taste buds on our tongue allow us to enjoy our favorite foods and beverages. When you clean your tongue, you release old food particles and flavors from the surface of your tongue. By keeping your tongue fresh, you can experience an increased sense of taste.
Using tongue scrapers as part of your dental hygiene routine is a relatively new concept. Wipe your tongue with a scraper, toothbrush or antiseptic. Whether you choose to clean with a mouthwash is your choice. Visiting your dentist twice a year for dental cleaning, brushing and flossing twice a day is the minimum recommendation for optimal oral health. But dentists realize that cleaning your tongue is another way to keep your mouth fresh and your smile bright.