We all know the importance of brushing your teeth. Our parents, grandparents, dentists and hygienists drive this message home at an early age. But did you realize that you need to be cleaning your tongue too?
Most of the bacteria in your mouth is actually found on your tongue! The tongue’s rough surface has many grooves and ridges that trap the bacteria. This builds up causing halitosis, or bad breath. Brushing your teeth is still an important task, but if you don’t clean your tongue too, in the matter of just a few hours, the bacteria from your tongue will move back to your “clean” teeth again.
How To Clean Your Tongue:
To ensure complete cleaning of the tongue and removal of debris, clean the entire surface – even the underside. Be gentle but firm, and work from the back to the front. Most of the bacteria resides in the back of the tongue, making this hard to reach spot the most important to clean.
If you have a strong gag reflex that makes brushing your tongue seem near impossible, perhaps try a tongue scraper or other tongue-cleaning tool instead. These work by gently scraping the bacteria off of the tongue in a more manageable manner. Talk to your dentist about which tongue-cleaning tool is right for you.
Remember to rinse your toothbrush or other cleaning tool frequently, as residue will build up. Also, always rinse after brushing or scraping your tongue. Use a mouthwash recommended by your dentist to clear your mouth of any reminaing food or bacterial debris. Plus, the mouthwash will help to freshen your breath!
Maintain Positive Oral Health:
While you should brush your teeth at least twice a day, your tongue should be cleaned at least daily. Also, don’t forget to floss!
Get more helpful and even personalized tips from Dr. Jonathan Gantz at your next visit. Contact your dentist in Walla Walla today to schedule your next appointment.