The tongue is a muscular organ responsible for helping us speak, chew, and breathe. It plays a key role in digestion, helping to move food around the mouth while you chew and swallow. You also need your tongue to form words and speak clearly. Your tongue even helps keep your airway open to allow you to breathe properly.
Changes in the appearance of the tongue can indicate an underlying condition. There are a variety of problems that can directly affect the tongue, resulting in symptoms like changes in taste, numbness, difficulty moving the tongue, sore or bumpy tongue, enlarged tongue, or color changes.
Maintaining good tongue health requires proper oral hygiene. When you brush and floss your teeth, don’t overlook your tongue. Learn why cleaning your tongue is important and how to clean your tongue correctly.
Importance of Cleaning Your Tongue
Cleaning your tongue is an important part of your oral hygiene routine.
There are several key advantages to cleaning your tongue daily as part of your oral hygiene, including:
- Fresher Breath – Odor-causing bacteria live on the tongue, contributing to chronic bad breath. While brushing and flossing can help combat bad breath, cleaning your tongue is critical to keeping your breath smelling clean and fresh.
- Improved Taste – The tongue is filled with taste buds that allow you to taste different flavors, such as salty and sweet. When you clean your tongue, it revitalizes these taste buds.
- Better Health – Cleaning your tongue can help you achieve better overall health and wellness. Tongue cleaning removes harmful bacteria that can contribute to cavities and inflame the gums.
How to Properly Clean Your Tongue
Cleaning your tongue takes just a few minutes of your day and can have a major impact on your oral health. According to a study published in the International Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry that evaluated the effects of tongue scraping and tongue brushing on existing plaque levels, participants showed significant reductions in plaque counts after just 10 days.
To clean your tongue using a toothbrush:
1. Apply a dab of toothpaste onto your toothbrush.
2. Begin brushing at the back of the tongue and brush towards the front.
3. Use gentle, firm pressure and go in back-and-forth motions.
To clean your tongue using a scraper:
1. Place the scraper at the back of the tongue.
2. Gently pull the scraper towards the front of the tongue.
3. Position the scraper at different angles and move it across the tongue.
4. Rinse the mouth with water to remove excess debris.
5. Rinse the tongue scraper with each use.
Reach Out to Vero Elite Dentistry Today
Ideally, you should clean your tongue twice a day to cut down on bacteria buildup. Adding tongue cleaning to your daily brushing and flossing routine can help you remember to clean your tongue. To learn more about why tongue cleaning is important or to schedule an oral health evaluation with an experienced dentist, contact Vero Elite Dentistry at 772.617.2869.