Have you ever thought about including your tongue in your oral hygiene routine? Here at your favorite Albany family dentist, we want you to know why thinking about your tongue can also save your teeth! It makes it possible for you to eat, drink, taste food, swallow, whistle, and speak. Ignoring it is a bad idea!
Why Should I Brush My Tongue?
Your tongue has lots of bumps and crevices that harbor hundreds of different kinds of bacteria, dead skin cells, and food particles. There’s also a very thin layer of mucus that covers it for protection. Not cleaning it can lead to some pretty bad breath, discoloration, oral yeast infections, and gum disease. A filthy tongue can even dull your taste buds!
While mouthwash kills some bacteria and freshens breath, it isn’t quite enough. The biofilm that accumulates will only die off with mouthwash for a time. But, the under-layer will continue to grow, rubbing off on your teeth and gums. You must remove the bacteria on your tongue by brushing.
How Do I Brush My Tongue?
Every time you brush your teeth (at least twice per day), brush your tongue too. You can brush back and forth and from side to side, but not too hard! If you break the skin, it will be painful, damage your taste buds, and be at risk for infection. You can either use the rest of the toothpaste in your mouth after brushing, or use a small bead of toothpaste and focus on the top of the tongue, starting at the back and moving forward. Use gentle pressure and then rinse with water.
If brushing your tongue is uncomfortable, you may be scrubbing too hard. The skin can become inflamed when irritated, so hold off for a couple of days if that happens. If you have a sore on your tongue, don’t make it worse by brushing. Consult our dentists for advice on how to proceed with a delicate tongue. If you have a sensitive gag reflex, try cleaning the back of your tongue very slow and light at first, to get used to the feeling. Hum a tune to override the reflex and get the job done.
It’s a pretty simple thing to add to your routine, so making it a habit shouldn’t take long. Your Albany family dentistry wants your smile to shine! If you have any questions about your dental health, contact us today.