Waving down the ice cream truck and sitting on a step eating an ice cream…
If you are looking to “amp” up your dental hygiene routine, you may want to consider integrating the use of a tongue cleaner into your daily brushing and flossing regimen. There are many amazing benefits to the practice of tongue cleaning. Here we will talk about these benefits, the types of tongue cleaners available, and how to use your tongue cleaner for the best results possible.
Why Clean Your Tongue?
We work hard to keep our mouth clean and free from harmful bacteria through the practice of brushing and flossing. Did you know that your tongue is also host to millions of bacteria? If unchecked, these bacteria can build up and lead to sulfur compounds that cause halitosis, create a white coating on your tongue, and accelerate tooth decay and gum disease as the bacteria spreads to the rest of your mouth.
The practice of tongue cleaning may seem like a foreign one, but the practice makes sense. If you want your entire mouth to be clean, you need to not only clean your teeth and gums, but also your tongue!
Ways to Clean Your Tongue
There are several methods for tongue cleaning. Here we will discuss your options and give suggestions on which may be most effective.
Option #1: Your Toothbrush
The first possible option for tongue cleaning involves the use of your regular toothbrush. Many people, in an attempt to also clean their tongue when brushing their teeth, use this method. Unfortunately, however, a regular toothbrush is designed to clean the smooth surface of your teeth, not to reach the shaped, tiny crevices on your tongue. Typical toothbrushes will miss these crevices, which can host harmful bacteria. The use of a toothbrush will clean some areas of the tongue, but not as thoroughly as other cleaning methods.
Option #2: A Tongue Scraper
A tongue scraper is a more traditional method for cleaning your tongue. Scrapers can be purchased at most retailers, and are typically made from plastic or metal. The scraper is used by simply placing the flat edge of the tool on the back of the tongue, then gently pulling the scraper forward over the surface of the tongue. This process can be repeated a few times for maximum results. When done properly, this method can be very effective in keeping your tongue free from harmful and odor-causing bacteria.
Option #3: A Tongue Brush
A tongue brush is a brush with bristles designed specifically for cleaning the pockets and crevices found on the tongue. Working similarly to the use of a tongue scraper (and just as beneficial), the tongue brush is made to penetrate tiny tongue crevices and clean out unhealthy deposits of bacteria found within them. To use, simply brush gently over the surface of the tongue starting at the back of the mouth and working forward in gentle, circular motions.
Tips for Maximizing the Use of a Tongue Cleaner
Once you have determined what tongue cleaning method you will use, there are a few universal tips that will help you maximize your tongue cleaning regimen to ensure the best results over time.
- Always start at the back of the tongue and work forward.
- Although it doesn’t matter if you brush your teeth before or after you clean your tongue, be sure to always follow your tongue cleaning with a mouthwash rinse. It is likely that the tongue cleaning process will disrupt pockets of bacteria in your tongue. You will want to be sure to rinse out your mouth properly afterward to ensure the bacteria do not remain.
- Rinse your cleaning device before and after use to remove any bacteria or debris that may be present.
- Clean your tongue twice daily, as often as you brush and floss your teeth.
- Be gentle with your tongue. Gentle scraping or brushing motions is all that is needed to clean it properly. Overtly robust use can damage the taste buds on your tongue.
Adding tongue cleaning to your overall dental hygiene regimen can boost your overall oral health and increase the freshness of your breath. The inexpensive nature and the minimal addition of time and effort is well worth the benefits.
We at Cooper Family Dentistry care about your overall oral health and are here to help you have the best smile possible. If you have any concerns about your dental health, please call our office so we can help you get on the right track towards the healthiest mouth possible. Call our Jacksonville Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.