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Why Brushing Your Tongue Should Be Part of Your Oral Hygiene Routine

We are often told to brush twice a day and floss at least once a day to keep healthy teeth and gums, but has anyone told you to brush your tongue? Brushing your tongue can greatly improve overall oral health.


While your tongue cannot get gingivitis or cavities, it still harbors the same cavity and gum disease causing bacteria. The tongue has a rough surface with many peaks and troughs, creating a perfect place for bacteria to accumulate quickly and can stay for a long time. There can be up to 700 different bacteria living in your mouth. Not all bacteria are bad, but the bad bacteria can do significant damage to your oral health. Some examples include:


  • Halitosis (bad breath): This is the most common problem that arises from not brushing your tongue.

  • Reduced taste: Bacteria can coat the taste buds, making them less effective.

  • Black hairy tongue: Stain and bacteria adhere to the papillae on your tongue, giving a dark hairy appearance

  • Thrush: This is a fungal (yeast) infection that can start in the mouth and throat. It appears like creamy white lesions on the tongue or inner cheeks. It can be treated with antifungal medication.

  • Periodontal disease: Bacteria can spread throughout the whole mouth causing a negative effect on the gums and bone.


Brushing your tongue should become part of your oral care routine. Make sure to brush your tongue gently, brushing too vigorously can damage the delicate tissue on your tongue. When brushing your tongue with a toothbrush use a light downward motion like you would your hair. If using a tongue scraper, place the tongue scraper at the back of the tongue and gently scrape forward. You can repeat this step several times and rinse your mouth with water.



The bottom line your tongue makes a great place for bacteria to grow and thrive. Following a regular oral care routine that focuses on good hygiene is the most effective way to battle bacteria in your mouth. In a proper routine, tongue brushing should always be included.


Sources:

Brushing Your Tongue | Dental Care

4 Reasons You Should Brush Your Tongue and How to Clean It Properly | Livestrong.com

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