How To Clean Your Tongue and Why You Should Do It
Is brushing enough to maintain good oral hygiene?
Your usual oral hygiene routine of brushing your teeth for at least two minutes, including hard-to-reach places, shouldn’t be the only focus.
The bacteria in your mouth accumulate everywhere, which is why it’s important to clean not only your teeth and gums, but also your tongue.
Read on to learn more about tongue cleaning and why it’s a vital part of good oral hygiene.
Why Should You Clean Your Tongue?
The surface of your tongue is just as much of a target for bacteria as the teeth are. Bacteria accumulate on the papillae or tiny bumps of the tongue. Without proper tongue cleaning, bacteria can easily hide in the tongue’s crevices and elevations.
What Happens If You Don't Clean Your Tongue?
Bacteria and different food particles get trapped on your tongue and these can build up overnight. If you don’t clean your tongue regularly, you’re making yourself vulnerable to different dental issues, including:
Halitosis is chronic bad breath that good brushing or mouthwash can’t solve. And unlike morning breath or the strong smell that lingers after eating garlic, this condition remains for a long time. Bacteria overgrowth, especially at the back of the tongue, emits a foul stench.
Aside from bad breath, an unclean tongue can lead to a dull sense of taste. The film of bacteria, food debris, and dead cells can cover your taste buds and prevent you from enjoying the flavors from the food you eat.
Yeast infection happens when the bacterial growth in your mouth becomes out of control. That’s when you’ll see white patches on the surface of your tongue.
Remember, no matter how diligent you are in brushing your teeth and gums, you still can’t eliminate bad breath and yeast infection unless you also keep your tongue clean. For your health and wellness, don’t bypass the importance of tongue cleaning.
What Are the Benefits of Tongue Cleaning?
Growing bacteria in your mouth isn’t something to be taken lightly. Make tongue cleaning a part of your oral hygiene routine and get these four benefits.
The debris accumulated on your tongue will form into a dirty film. This coating makes your tongue look unsightly. Scraping this film off can enhance the appearance of your tongue and boost your self-confidence.
Bad breath is often caused by reduced flow of saliva. In turn, this can lead to the buildup of bacteria in your mouth. If you don’t clean your tongue regularly, bacteria can overrun in your mouth, making things even worse. Cleaning your tongue removes the biofilm that keeps bacteria intact, therefore minimizing your chances of having bad breath.
Bacteria undermine your overall oral health and other parts of your body through systemic circulation. A healthy mouth goes together with a healthy body. Eliminating bacteria doesn’t only lead to good oral health but also to your overall health.
Your sense of taste lets you enjoy various culinary delights. But with the build-up of extra particles on the tongue, the taste buds can’t pick up the full flavors of the food you eat. Cleaning your tongue removes this build-up and lets you enjoy the enhanced taste of whatever you wish to eat
How Often Should You Clean Your Tongue?
It doesn’t matter what time of the day you clean your tongue, as long as you make it a habit and do so once a day. Ensure fresh breath at the start of your day by scraping or brushing your tongue in the morning.
How Should You Clean Your Tongue?
Using either a tongue scraper or a toothbrush to clean your tongue can help reduce bacteria in your mouth. However, a 2006 review examined two studies and found that tongue scrapers removed more sulfur compounds that cause halitosis than cleaning your tongue with a toothbrush.
Rinsing Alone Doesn’t Work
Using mouthwash to get rid of the biofilm or group of microorganisms that stick together on the surface of the tongue isn’t as simple as you think. It’s difficult to eliminate the bacteria in the biofilm using mouthwash since only the outer cells are destroyed. The bacteria found beneath the surface can still thrive.
The microbes left from rinsing can still lead to bad breath and tooth damage. This is why it’s better to physically remove the bacteria by using a tongue scraper.
How to Use a Tongue Scraper
To thoroughly clean the surface and the back of the tongue, you need the right tool — a tongue scraper.
The AutoBrush Pro Total Package comes with an automatic tongue scraper that you can easily attach and remove from the AutoBrush body. It’s a convenient tool that you can use as a brush to clean your teeth twice a day and as a scraper to remove all kinds of bacteria from your tongue.
Follow these steps to clean your tongue using a scraper.
- Stand in front of your bathroom mirror. Open your mouth, then stick your tongue out.
- Gently place the rounded edge of your AutoBrush Tongue Scraper at the back of your tongue.
- Place the scraper on your tongue and move it towards the front while applying pressure. If you’re worried about gag reflex, you can start at the middle of your tongue then gradually start from farther back once you get used to scraping. You can also adjust the placement and pressure of your tongue scraper.
- Spit out excess saliva that is built up during tongue scraping.
- Repeat the tongue scraping process as needed. After every scrape, run your tongue scraper under warm water to clean any food debris or bacteria attached to it.
- Store your tongue scraper for your next use. You can do tongue scraping once or twice a day. To avoid gagging or vomiting, scrape your tongue before you eat breakfast.
Important Note: When tongue scraping, never push the scraper from the tip of your tongue to the back. Always start from the back of the tongue to the tip.
Brush, Floss, and Don’t Forget to Scrape
If you enjoy eating and tasting different flavors as most people do, you have to take a well-rounded approach to oral hygiene. The tongue is responsible for your sense of taste, and unlike the teeth, you can’t replace it with an artificial one.
Brush your teeth twice a day, floss, rinse, and don’t forget to stick your tongue out and scrape. It’s a simple last step to add to your oral hygiene routine that can greatly improve your overall oral health.
Remember, although good oral hygiene like tongue scraping can help, it isn’t a cure-all for chronic mouth diseases. Dentalhealth.org highlights the importance of making regular dental visits as they can assess your symptoms and determine the best course of action.