You might know that brushing and flossing your teeth is important in order to avoid serious dental problems. But, most people fail to realize that cleaning their tongue is equally important if they want to maintain proper oral hygiene.
The tongue has the most bacteria-infested places in our bodies. A tongue has not only taste buds but also fissures, elevations, and several other microscopic structures where the bacteria can hide easily if not removed physically.
Know The Importance Of Cleaning Your Tongue
Going through the pointers below will help you know the need to clean your tongue on a daily basis.
- Helps prevent tooth decay or gum problems – Bacteria or minute food particles that accumulate on your tongue can still get to your teeth and gums, no matter how effectively you clean your teeth. You may be able to prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay by brushing and cleaning your tongue.
- Improves your breath – Bacteria on the tongue can be the reason for halitosis or bad breath. Regular tongue brushing can help get rid of bacteria that are harmful to your health. This can also help you have fresh breath and a healthy mouth.
- Reduces the chances of having a black hairy tongue – The microscopic lumps on your tongue called papillae take on a dark, hair-like appearance when dark-colored foods and beverages, such as red wine, coffee, or soda, stain them.
- Certain bacteria cannot be removed by rinsing – Mouthwashes and gargles won’t eliminate the bacteria on your tongue since they attach to a sticky film. So, you’ll have to brush and clean it thoroughly to get rid of them.
What Are The Effective Ways To Clean Your Tongue?
Some of the practical tips for cleaning your tongue are:
- Toothbrushes – There is no specific equipment required to clean your tongue. Brushing your tongue with a standard toothbrush and quick side-to-side and back-and-forth motions is essential. You can carry out this action both before and after brushing your teeth.
- Specialized tongue scrapers – Microorganisms can be eliminated by utilizing specialist tongue scrapers to remove the mucus coating on your tongue. They are available at any drugstore and are quite inexpensive.
- Toothbrushes with built-in scrapers – Some of the toothbrushes available nowadays come with scrapers incorporated into the back of the handle. Brush your tongue first and then scrape it to perform thorough cleaning.
What Does Your Tongue Say About Your Overall Health?
Your mouth may develop bumps, patches, or spots that are unharmful. But sometimes, they can offer hints about what is happening in your body. Infections, stress, medication issues, and even aging can make their impressions on your tongue. Learn what your tongue is trying to tell you and when you should visit a dentist or doctor.
The cream-colored patches on your tongue can be thrush, a fungal illness. It commonly develops when an illness or medications throw off the balance of bacteria in your mouth. The white patches that look lacy can be lichen planus, which indicates that your immune system is attacking your mouth’s tissue. If you observe hard, flat, white spots that can’t be scraped away, it could be leukoplakia, which is linked to cancer. Be careful to contact your dentist if you have any white patches on your tongue.
Hair On Your Tongue
You might have a hairy tongue if your tongue has a black, brown, or white fur-like coating. Those “hair” are basically proteins that turn normal, minor bumps into longer strands where the food particles and bacteria get trapped. People who have HIV or the Epstein-Barr virus are susceptible to such a problem. It should be gone if you brush or scrape your tongue.
A hairy tongue can be black in color. However, your tongue might also turn dark if you take an antacid with the ingredient bismuth. It causes a black mark on some people’s tongues while getting mixed with the saliva. This problem is harmless and goes away once you stop taking the medication.
Bright Red Tongue
A strawberry-red tongue may be a warning sign of Kawasaki disease, a rare but serious condition that mostly affects children and causes inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body. It’s also a symptom of scarlet fever. It may be an indication that your body lacks vitamin B3 if your red tongue is smooth and you also experience mouth pain. Also, contact us for any tongue-related issues.