You visit the dentist regularly, brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss, and watch what you eat. With all of these healthy dental habits, you're well on your way to a bright smile. Taking care of your teeth is essential when it comes to your health. But, those pearly whites aren't the only part of your mouth that you need to focus on. While concentrating on the teeth and gums is kind of a no-brainer, it's easy to forget about the tongue. Even though your tongue is right there in the middle of your mouth, cleaning it isn't always at the top of many patients' lists of dental priorities. Check out what you need to know about keeping your tongue clean and why it matters.
Bacteria can build up on the surfaces in your mouth. But, you already knew that. That's primarily why you brush and floss. Brushing and flossing remove the bacteria from the surfaces of your mouth and stops plaque from forming. That not-so-pleasant bacteria doesn't just build-up on your teeth though. It also builds up on your tongue. What's the result? Bad breath. Brushing your tongue and cleaning the bacteria off can help to control that foul smell that you don't want sticking around.
Brushing your tongue (when you brush your teeth) is the first step to keeping the area clean. You can also go a step beyond basic brushing and give your tongue a deeper cleansing. Tongue scrapers are made to get that gunky, germy, yucky stuff off of the area. These handy little dental devices are available in the oral health aisle of most drug and grocery stores. Start with the tool at the back of your tongue and scrape forwards. Repeat the motion a few more times to get the entire area clean. Make sure to clean your tongue with the scraper at least twice a day (immediately after brushing) to maximize the effects.
Plenty of people use mouth wash to get rid of that bad breath smell. Yes, it can temporarily keep your mouth smelling minty fresh and (depending on the formula or brand you choose) can reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth. But, mouth wash alone isn't enough to keep your tongue truly clean. A physical method of bacteria and debris removal, such as brushing and scraping, is needed – even if you use mouth wash. While there's nothing wrong with a quick swish of mouth wash, don't assume that using it alone will keep the area completely healthy.
Along with visiting the dentist, at-home oral care is necessary for adequate dental health. Your home care routine should go beyond your teeth and gums, and include your tongue. Not only will keeping your tongue clean improve the smell of your breath, but it can also help you to have an overall healthy mouth.