Do You Need to Clean Your Tongue?

Tongue Cleaning

Should you clean your tongue every day?

While it’s not quite as critical as brushing your teeth, tongue cleaning is important too. To learn why and how to clean your tongue, it helps to learn how bacteria builds up on the surface in the first place.

Bacteria Buildup Is a Problem

Your tongue is an extremely important part of your body. It enables you to talk, taste, chew and swallow, but you probably don’t think much about it during your daily oral hygiene routine. That should change, and here’s why: Your tongue is not immune to bacteria buildup.

Your tongue has countless tiny bumps on its surface, called papillae. Bacteria, dead skin and food particles get stuck in the grooves. The mucous coating on top keeps this debris in place and makes it look white. After you floss and brush, this leftover debris can move to the teeth and increase the risk of plaque and tartar.

How Should You Clean It?

Remembering to clean your tongue is the challenging part, but actually cleaning it is simple. All you have to do is rub your toothbrush across the surface after you’re done brushing. While you’re at it, gently scrape the roof of your mouth and the inside of your cheeks as well.

You could also try using a tongue scraper. These are inexpensive, plastic tools found at drugstores. They work by removing the film of mucous on the surface as well as the bacteria that may be lodged in the grooves of the papillae. Start at the back of the tongue and pull the scraper forward, rinsing after each pass.

You could also try using a tongue brush. These are designed with softer bristles that are well-suited for removing bacteria from the tongue.

Don’t use so much force when scraping that you hurt yourself — it’s not necessary. Be firm, but don’t dig in.

After you’ve cleaned your teeth, gums, tongue and the entire inside of your mouth, rinsing with mouthwash can finalize your oral hygiene routine, leaving you with fresh breath and an ultra-clean mouth.

Do You Still Have Bad Breath?

If you clean your tongue on a daily basis, it could significantly reduce bad breath (halitosis). However, if you still notice an unpleasant taste or odor in your mouth, you should visit your dentist. An infection could be the cause, and you should get treatment right away to limit the damage to your teeth and gums.

Have you been keeping up with your dental hygiene and going for checkups once every six months? If not, it’s time to make an appointment with Oak Hills Dentistry. You will learn from a team of friendly professionals more about how you can improve the health of your teeth and gums and how to clean your tongue effectively.