Don’t Forget Your Tongue!

Most of our patients at Discover Dental know that it’s important to brush and floss our teeth every single day. What not everyone knows, however, is that it’s also important to clean our tongues on a daily basis. That’s right: Brushing and flossing alone isn’t enough to get rid of all the harmful bacteria in your mouth. In order to maintain the best oral health, it is important to brush your tongue as well as your teeth.


Here’s why: Most of the bacteria in your mouth live on your tongue. Its rough, warm, and wet surface is the ideal place for bacteria to proliferate. Brushing your teeth eliminates the bacteria clinging to your teeth, but the bacteria on your tongue will transfer to your teeth in just a few hours. Brushing or scraping away these bacteria, too, prevents them spreading and helps to eliminate bad breath.


Fortunately, brushing your tongue is easy. Your toothbrush is okay for cleaning your tongue, but its bristles are made for cleaning the hard enamel of your teeth, not the soft, muscle of your tongue. To clean your tongue the best you can, buy or ask your dentist for a tongue-cleaning tool. Be careful to gently scrape away from your mouth, as you don’t want to rub the dirt back inside.


Scrape the tongue gently but firmly from the root of the tongue towards the tip several times, making sure to wash any residue on the tool off afterwards to remove any bacteria or lingering smell. As most of the food and bacterial debris is at the back of the tongue, make sure to scrape from there for maximum cleaning. Don’t scrape too hard—this may injure your tongue, which could take a couple of days to heal.


After scraping your tongue, rinse your mouth out with a gentle mouthwash to wash away any remaining residue. Make sure to clean your tongue at least once a day; in the morning before you eat or drink is an ideal time. With a little care, your mouth will stay as healthy as can be!


Want to get your own tongue-scraper or learn more about healthy tongues? Call Discover Dental today for a free consultation!