Tongue Brushing: Is It Really Necessary?
We’ve all heard that it’s good to brush your tongue, but is it really necessary? How beneficial can it be?
Quite beneficial, actually. If you’re not already brushing your tongue, you’re missing out on an essential part of oral health — not to mention fresh breath.
Here’s a look at why brushing your tongue should become a part of your everyday routine.
Bacteria Hangs Out On Your Tongue
Most of the bacteria in your mouth sits on the tongue. It tends to gather in colonies within the crevices between the taste buds and other tongue structures, where it hides until it’s removed…by your toothbrush.
Just think about how your tongue turns red from wine, or blue from a Popsicle. These leftover food particles also leave behind bacteria.
If left unaddressed, this group of bacteria can make its way to your teeth and gums, which can lead to halitosis (bad breath), tooth decay, and periodontal disease.
What About Just Rinsing With Water?
Removing the bacteria isn’t as easy as simply rinsing with water or using mouthwash. Rinsing typically only gets rid of the outer cells of the bacteria group — that is to say, the surface of it. Meanwhile, the cells under the surface are left intact.
What Problems Can Arise?
Besides the aforementioned bad breath, tooth decay, and periodontal disease, not brushing your tongue can also lead to other issues, including the inability to properly taste and even yeast infections of the mouth (called “thrush”).
Besides preventing oral health problems, brushing your tongue also gives your immunity and digestive levels a boost, as the tongue is an important part of the immune system. When you brush your tongue, you’re stopping toxins from becoming absorbed into your body.
In addition, brushing your tongue helps food and drinks taste better because you’re getting rid of plaque buildup and reviving your taste buds.
How Often To Brush Your Tongue
Dr. Tara Hardin recommends brushing your tongue every time you brush your teeth, and at least twice a day. In particular, brushing your tongue before you go to sleep will help decrease the amount of bacteria. This small act, only requiring a few seconds, adds up to a big difference.
Is There A Special Technique?
Incorporating the correct tongue brushing technique into your regimen is a very smart decision to maintain oral health. To brush your tongue, gently brush back and forth, then side to side, then rinse with water. Be sure to only use a little pressure.
You may also want to check out a tongue scraper, which can be found in most drug stores or pharmacies. However, note that the American Dental Association says that there is no evidence that tongue scrapers prevent bad breath, so you may want to stick with using a toothbrush.
Have More Questions? Give Us A Call
Dr. Tara Hardin is a leader in the field of the dental arts, ranking in the top 1% of practitioners in both credentials and education. If your oral health is in need of a check or you have chronically bad breath, we encourage you to reach out to us today to get you back on track.