The tongue is an important organ that often gets overlooked when it comes to oral hygiene. It is responsible for speaking, eating, breathing properly, and swallowing and tasting your food.
The tongue is a digestive organ made of strong muscles, attached at one end. It is also the only muscle in the body that doesn’t require support from the skeleton to function.
The tongue is covered with mucosa and different types of papillae and taste buds. Many of the approximately 700 forms of bacteria living in the mouth can be found on the tongue.
Having good oral hygiene should include maintaining the number of harmful bacteria low and the good bacteria high, and it is worth including cleaning your tongue in your daily routine.
Does Cleaning Your Tongue Help?
Different studies show different results when investigating the benefits of cleaning your tongue. The number one reason you might start paying attention to cleaning your tongue as a part of your oral hygiene routine is to prevent or fix bad breath and to get a fresh feeling in your mouth.
Several studies show that cleaning the tongue has no significant difference in managing halitosis (bad breath), as the smell can actually originate from different parts of the body (sinuses, decaying teeth, nose, and even lungs).
However, they do confirm the benefit of having a fresh feeling of cleanness in your mouth when cleaning the tongue regularly. Additionally, there are various studies showing that cleaning your tongue tremendously reduces the number of harmful bacteria in your mouth, also helping with reducing plaque and gum disease issues, and, over time, improving general oral health.
3 Ways to Clean Your Tongue
There are several ways in which you can clean your tongue.
Studies suggest that using a tongue scraper is the most effective way to clean your tongue. There are different types of tongue scrapers (e.g., metal tongue scrapers, plastic tongue scrapers, and brush tongue scrapers) to choose from, according to your preferences.
Usually, the tongue scrapers are a thin U or V-shaped wire that you use by placing it at the back of your tongue and running it carefully on top of your tongue all the way to the front, using light pressure. You can repeat this procedure 1-3 times, spit any residue, and rinse the scraper with warm water to clean it.
This is an easy-to-use method to clean your tongue each time you brush your teeth. Use a delicate, soft-bristled toothbrush. Lightly brush from the back of your tongue towards the front, to clean your tongue and remove any residue and bacteria left after eating. Brush back and forth, brush side to side, then rinse the mouth with warm water.
Using mouthwash as part of your regular oral hygiene routine can also help keep your tongue clean and improve bad breath issues and other oral health problems, especially when combined with brushing.
It is particularly recommended to use a therapeutic mouthwash that your dentist can prescribe to you for better results, but regular, over-the-counter products also work well, the most important part is to do it regularly.
Oral Health Recommendations
Whether the researchers agree or not on the benefits of cleaning your tongue, there are a few general directions and recommendations dentists everywhere agree on when it comes to managing oral health:
- Brush at least twice daily using fluoride toothpaste
- Floss (or use interdental brushes) after each meal and rinse your mouth with mouthwash
- Make sure you drink enough water to stay hydrated and prevent bad breath
- Eat healthy foods and drinks, and reduce the consumption of sugary and acidic foods and fizzy drinks
- Quit smoking
Read also: What Really Causes Bad Breath?
Other than the recommended daily routine, it is best to have a proactive approach toward your oral health and schedule regular cleaning and checkups. When you need a dentist in Lafayette, LA, you can trust the team with over 16 years of experience at Maestri Family Dental. Schedule an appointment today!