4 Reasons You Should Clean Your Tongue

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We constantly stress the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily, but how much attention do you pay to your tongue?

As much as we hate to think about it, the tongue can become home for many nasties that can actually cause a number of issues both inside and outside of the mouth. For this reason, scraping or cleaning your tongue is the perfect way to ensure your oral health is in its best condition, in a more holistic way!

Find out below why your tongue needs to be cleaned, the main benefits of cleaning your tongue, and how to clean it properly!

Article Summary:

  • Why You Should Clean Your Tongue
  • How to Clean Your Tongue
    – Tongue scraper
    – Tongue brush
    – Toothbrush
  • 4 Benefits of Cleaning Your Tongue
    1. Cleaning your tongue improves bad breath
    2. Cleaning your tongue can boost your immune system
    3. Cleaning your tongue makes your food taste better
    4. Cleaning your tongue helps prevent cavities
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Why You Should Clean Your Tongue

A toothbrush cleans the surface of your teeth, flossing removes the food between your teeth, but what about the things accumulating on your tongue? The surface of your tongue collects bacteria, dead cells, toxins and food particles every day, which can only be properly removed by thoroughly cleaning your tongue. 

If they hang around, the bacteria produce sulphur compounds which can cause bad breath, among other issues once they are reabsorbed by the body including respiratory problems, digestive issues and a weakened immune system. Therefore, cleaning your tongue can remove these toxic particles from your tongue, improving your overall oral health and preventing them from further entering the body.

How to Clean Your Tongue

There are three main ways to clean your tongue, which include:

  • A tongue scraper
  • A toothbrush that includes a tongue brush on the opposite side to the regular bristles
  • Using the bristles on a standard toothbrush

 

Tongue scraper

Tongue scrapers are made from metal or plastic, and are an effective way to clean the tongue. All you need to do is place the edge of the scraper on the back of the tongue and move it forward along the surface. It’s important to scrape the entire top and sides of the tongue, not just the middle.

Tongue brush

Choosing a toothbrush with a built-in tongue brush is a super quick and convenient option, since all you need to do is flip the brush over to remove the bacteria from your tongue after you’ve used the brush to clean your teeth and gums.

You move the brush from the back to the front of the tongue like a tongue scraper, but you may need to do a few passes to clean the whole tongue properly as it covers a smaller surface area than the scraper.

Toothbrush

The other option is to use a standard toothbrush to brush the surface of your tongue. The downside of this method is that since the bristles are designed to be gentle enough to clean the surface of your teeth, it may not be thorough enough to properly clean the rough surface of the tongue, which has many tiny grooves.

Whichever option you choose, you can clean your tongue either before or after brushing your teeth, and keep in mind that your tongue is sensitive so you should be gentle. Before and after cleaning your tongue, rinse off your chosen tongue cleaning tool to remove bacteria and food particles, and rinse your mouth afterwards.

It’s best to try several different methods to determine which one works best for you.

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4 Benefits of Cleaning Your Tongue

The four main benefits of cleaning your tongue are:

1. Cleaning your tongue improves bad breath

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can occur as a result of a build-up of bacteria and plaque. The tongue can become coated in a layer of bacteria due to a number of factors, including poor oral hygiene, smoking, medication or dry mouth (xerostomia). Scraping or cleaning the tongue can help remove this bacteria, leaving your mouth cleaner and breath fresher.

2. Cleaning your tongue can boost your immune system

Your tongue plays a role in your overall immunity, because when toxins and bacteria begin to accumulate on your tongue they can be reabsorbed into your body. It’s especially important to clean your tongue when you’re sick, since coughing, sneezing and sucking on throat lozenges can build up extra particles at the back of your tongue and your immune system is already compromised.

3. Cleaning your tongue makes your food taste better

Scraping or brushing your tongue helps to unblock the taste buds, which helps improve the intensity of food flavours and encourage healthy saliva production. This in turn aids in digestion.

4. Cleaning your tongue helps prevent cavities

By brushing or scraping bacteria and toxins from the surface of the tongue, you’re reducing the amount of plaque forming in the mouth which will help prevent it from accumulating on your teeth and causing tooth decay, cavities and gum disease.

In conjunction with scraping your tongue, keeping up a good oral hygiene routine involves:

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Rinsing with mouthwash
  • Flossing between your teeth daily
  • Drinking enough water to prevent dry mouth, which leads to bad breath
  • Visiting your dentist twice a year for a regular dental check-up

To ensure your oral health is in its best condition, book your check-up and clean with one of our amazing Gold Coast dentists! Get in touch with us today on the phone numbers below, or conveniently book an appointment online:

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