Oral Hygiene for Your Tongue

You likely already know that you must practice regular oral hygiene in order to keep your teeth clean and healthy. This will involve brushing and flossing your teeth on a consistent basis and with proper technique. However, you may not realize that your oral hygiene regimen should include cleaning your tongue as well.

Neglecting your tongue during your oral hygiene routine may mean that you leave harmful residues in your mouth that can spread and wreak havoc on your oral health. Your dentist can provide you with advice for cleaning your tongue at your next dental check-up. In the meantime, you can read on to learn more about the importance of oral hygiene for your tongue as well as tips for this targeted cleaning.

Oral Hygiene for Your Tongue

Why Do I Need to Clean My Tongue?

You may think of your tongue as a smooth muscle, but the tongue actually features hundreds of bumps that allow you to taste. This gives your tongue a rough texture and also creates plenty of space for natural oral bacteria to become trapped.

Only brushing your teeth will leave lingering food particles and excess bacteria on your tongue. Then bacteria can travel through your mouth, putting you in danger of oral infections such as gum disease. It can also make you form tooth decay.

You will need treatment from your dentist to get rid of gum disease and cavities, so ideally, you should prevent developing them in the first place. This will mean practicing good oral hygiene to keep harmful bacteria at bay. So you should pay attention to your tongue during this routine too.

Bacteria and food particles both will start to emit a foul odor if they remain in your mouth for some time. They can contribute to bad breath. Cleaning your tongue will fight bad breath and leave your mouth feeling and smelling fresher.

How Do I Keep My Tongue Clean?

Your typical teeth-brushing and flossing regimen will not get your tongue clean as well as the rest of your smile. Consider the following tips to properly clean your tongue:

  • Complete your usual oral hygiene regimen.
  • Gently scrub the surface of your tongue with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper.
  • Rinse with mouthwash.

The bristles of your toothbrush can clean your tongue effectively. But some people prefer using a tongue scraper due to its targeted purpose of removing harmful build-up on your tongue. This can prove especially useful if you notice discoloration or a coating on the tongue.

Mouthwash can contain antibacterial agents that work to keep your oral bacteria balanced. Rinsing with this product can add a boost to your oral hygiene, including for your tongue, with an extra wash in case you missed some of the surfaces while brushing.

The most important element when it comes to oral hygiene is consistency. Continue cleaning your tongue and the rest of your mouth every day. Skipping any steps in your oral hygiene regimen will allow bacteria to linger, spread, and hurt your dental health in multiple ways.

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