Why Brushing Your Tongue is Important

Most people understand the importance of brushing their teeth twice a day and flossing regularly, but not many people know that brushing their tongue is also important when it comes to good oral hygiene. The tongue is a breeding ground for bacteria as it is made up of crevices and elevations where germs can build up. Fortunately, not all bacteria on your tongue is bad, and most of them can actually help keep your mouth healthy. However, bad bacteria can cause all kinds of trouble and leave you with gum infections, tooth decay, and bad breath. Incorporating tongue brushing into your routine can help eliminate bad bacteria and leave you with a healthier mouth. Here is a short guide to help you understand why brushing your tongue is important and a few top tips to help you do it properly.                       

The Tongue is a Breeding Ground for Bacteria

Most people think of bacteria build-up as being a problem for the teeth when actually, the average adult has around 20 billion bacteria in their oral cavity at any given time. The bacteria living in your mouth is mainly made up of gram-positive bacteria and gram-negative bacteria. Gram-positive bacteria is found in plaque, while gram-negative bacteria can be found anywhere in the mouth, including the crevices of the tongue. Unfortunately, bad bacteria can turn into sulfur byproducts, which can lead to halitosis. One of the most efficient ways to avoid bad tongue bacteria is by practicing good dental care. Those looking for an Asheville dentist who can offer sound advice about tongue brushing can give Biltmore Avenue Family Dentistry a call. Their team of dental professionals provides a range of high-quality dental care services and can help you keep tongue bacteria at bay.

Just Rinsing is Not Enough

Some people might think brushing, flossing, and rinsing is enough to rid them of the nasty bacteria that build upon the tongue. However, incorporating tongue brushing is the best way to get rid of this bacteria. This build-up is called biofilm, and it is a group of microorganisms that coat the surface of the tongue. These sticky layers of biofilm are difficult to remove with just water. A rinse simply destroys the slimy outer layers of the biofilm, but the cells living underneath the surface can survive a mouth rinse. In order to remove biofilm properly, you need to physically clean the tongue.

Brushing Your Tongue Will Prevent Decay and Disease

When small particles of food and bacteria build up on the surface of the tongue, they have the opportunity to spread to the gums and teeth. In turn, you are more at risk of developing periodontal disease and tooth decay. Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a serious infection that harms soft gum tissues and can cause bone loss in the gums too. Ultimately, gum disease can lead to tooth loss. Luckily, with good oral hygiene and by brushing your tongue regularly, you can reduce the risk of developing gum disease and keep your oral cavity healthy.


Avoid Oral Thrush

Another condition you want to avoid is oral thrush. Oral thrush is a yeast infection that develops when there is a serious bacteria build up in the mouth. Symptoms can include painful gums and a sore tongue, difficulty consuming food and drink, an unpalatable taste in the mouth, and cracks developing at the sides of the mouth. Once you get oral thrush, you will need to treat it with anti-fungal medication from your dentist or health care provider.

Get Rid of Bad Breath

Brushing your tongue can help rid you of bad breath. Bacteria on the tongue can result in halitosis, so cleaning your tongue regularly can remove the bad bacteria that cause bad breath. However, if bad breath persists, you could be facing a more serious issue. Bad breath can be a symptom of tooth decay and mouth, nose, throat, and sinus infections. In addition, it can also be caused by diabetes and cancer. If you have been brushing your tongue for a while and you still experience bad breath, make sure you consult your healthcare provider or your dentist.

Enhance Your Taste Buds

The biofilm on your tongue can dull your taste buds and prevent you from tasting food and beverages properly. Cleaning your tongue and getting rid of the biofilm on your tongue’s surface can help you taste your food better.

How Do I Brush My Tongue?

There are a few different ways to brush your tongue, and the methods depend on the instrument you decide to use to clean your tongue. Some people use the bristles of their toothbrush, some purchase specialist tools, while others use a two-in-one toothbrush and tongue scraper.

Use a Toothbrush

You can clean your tongue using a standard toothbrush. For good dental health, use a clean toothbrush and adopt a side to side and back and forth motion to brush your tongue. Begin at the back of your tongue and gently brush until you reach the front. Try to avoid your teeth and gums, and don’t be too rigorous. The last thing you want is to cause abrasions on your tongue’s surface. Once you have finished, rinse your mouth out to remove the remaining bacteria in the mouth.

Purchase a Specialized Tongue Scraper Tool

Specialized tongue scraper tools can be bought from local drugstores and are generally inexpensive. They are often created using flexible, soft plastic and are designed to remove the debris on the surface of the tongue. Using this specialist tool, gently place it at the back of the tongue and scrape it forward until you reach the front of your mouth. Again, try to avoid vigorous movements in case you cause harm to your tongue.

Toothbrushes With Built-In Tongue Scraper

With more and more people becoming aware of the importance of tongue brushing, there are many more toothbrushes with built-in tongue scrapers on the market. Using these handy tools, you can brush your teeth, rinse the brush, then use the tongue scraper to scrape your tongue clean.