December 31, 2017
Hello, I’m your tongue. I’m always hanging around, providing the pleasure that you get from tasting all the beautiful flavors of food. However, I feel rejected at times. You put so much attention into brushing and flossing your teeth, but barely clean me. Now I have an abundance of bacteria on me. Your dentist says that you must start treating me with more care, or your entire oral health could be in jeopardy.
Why is Your Tongue So Important to Your Oral Health?
Your tongue is just as important to your oral health as your teeth and gums because it has tiny bumps called papillae that attract bacteria and food particles. Over time, if not properly removed, the bacteria cause a thin white layer to buildup on your tongue. This can result in bad breath and contribute to gum disease.
How to Care for Your Tongue
There are two main ways to care for your tongue. They are brushing and scraping, and here listed are the proper techniques to do both.
- Brushing – After brushing your teeth, gently scrub your tongue from back to tip with the moistened toothbrush. Along with your tongue, you can also brush your cheeks and roof of your mouth. Follow by rinsing, which will help to remove any excess food particles and bacteria.
- Scraping – This method of cleaning requires a tongue scraper. Place the scraper at the back of the tongue, and with it sticking out, slide the scraper down along the tongue’s surface towards the tip. Rinse the scraper and repeat until your entire tongue is clean.
How Often Should You Clean Your Tongue?
Because your mouth is constantly growing new bacteria, it’s important to clean your tongue a minimum of once a day.
A final piece to the puzzle is to make sure to visit your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and examinations. By making this a habit along with brushing, scraping and flossing, you are building a solid foundation for years of excellent oral health.
About the Author
A native San Antonian, Dr. Joseph Noble has been improving smiles for over 20 years. Earning his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University, he would go on to pursue his doctorate at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He truly enjoys building relationships with his patients and watching their children grow up. Making sure to stay abreast of the latest changes in the dental world, Dr. Noble maintains active membership in the American Dental Association, Texas Dental Association and San Antonio District Dental Society. He practices at Joseph H. Noble, DDS Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, and can be reached for more information about his services through his website.
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