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Why should we clean our tongues?

13 July 2017

Taking care of our oral cavity is a daily job for all of us. We know that brushing our teeth twice a day, two minutes per each cleaning, using a carefully chosen toothbrush and toothpaste is essential. Some of us are also particular about cleaning our interdental surfaces. Very few of us remember to clean our tongues though. If it’s not a part of our teeth, we don’t care about cleaning it while brushing. What kind of effects does not cleaning it have on our teeth though? As it turns out, failing to keep our tongue clean might have some negative consequences on the overall health of our entire oral cavity.

Why cleaning our tongue is important?

The tongue plays a very important role within our mouth – it helps us chew, suck, swallow and speak. It also allows us to feel the taste. As you can easily notice, the bacteria and food remains within our oral cavity aren’t forming deposits on our teeth alone. Do you see a white coating on your tongue sometimes? That’s bacterial biofilm, which regularly appears in this part of our mouth. In order to enjoy having healthy teeth, we need to remove it regularly. Failing to do so might lead to the forming of cavities, bad breath and other negative consequences related to our health.

How should we clean our tongues?

There are three basic methods of cleaning the tongue:

  • using a toothbrush – the most common and easiest method. All we need is our own toothbrush. Simply rub the bristles over this part of our oral cavity in order to remove the biofilm. Some of the manual toothbrushes come with special overlays made for cleaning our tongue. The electric and sonic toothbrushes on the other hand might offer special tongue cleaning modes.  Reaching the end of the tongue might be problematic though, as it often causes gagging reflexes. That’s why some dentists recommend combining this method with the one below,
  • using a mouthwash – can be used as a supplement for the other two methods. Based around washing our mouth out using a special liquid which reaches all parts of our mouth without any problems, while also refreshing our breath. The mouthwashes can be bought at pharmacies or dental stores,
  • using a tongue cleaner – these small devices are very useful for cleaning our tongue. All we need to do is to apply them to the currently cleaned part of our mouth cavity and move them back and forth a few times. Their small size will also allow us to clean the sides of our tongue. After finishing, we should wash both the device and our oral cavity.

Remember that cleaning your tongue should become a daily habit, if you don’t want to suffer from cavities. If, despite of using the methods mentioned above, you’re still struggling with bad breath or white coating on your tongue, make sure to consult your dentist. These might signal some disease processes occuring within your body.