Why Should I Brush My Tongue?
Basically, your tongue is covered in bacteria (more than 700 bacterial species), which loves to accumulate between the taste buds and other tongue structures. Thus, your tongue is kind of like a bacterial sponge and can spread bacteria through the mouth to cause problems.
When you don’t brush your tongue, an icky coating of bacteria, food particles and skin cells is formed. This sticky buildup, called biofilm, isn’t removed by simply drinking water or using mouthwash. And it can lead to bad breath; a black, hairy tongue; oral thrush (yeast infections in the tongue caused by bacteria getting out of whack); and even periodontal disease.
How Do I Brush My Tongue?
Use a small dab of toothpaste and brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth. Take your toothbrush and brush back and forth, and side to side, and then rinse your mouth out with water.
You can use the bristles of the toothbrush to do this, or you can choose a toothbrush that has a built in tongue cleaner on the back of the head.
Should I Use a Tongue Scraper?
Tongue scrapers are designed for a more thorough cleaning. Made of soft, flexible plastic, the tongue scraper is pulled from back to front and peels the thin biofilm from the tongue.
Some research has concluded that a tongue scraper is more effective than a toothbrush at removing toxins and bacteria from the tongue. However the American Dental Association says there is no evidence that brushing or scraping your tongue will prevent bad breath or halitosis (chronic bad breath).
The best ways to prevent bad breath and prevent periodontal disease are:
- Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss between your teeth twice a day.
- Eat a healthy diet and limit sugary snacks and drinks.
- Have a regular dental check-up — once every six months.
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