Should You Brush Your Tongue?


Here’s Why You Should Always Brush Your Tongue

 Did you know that the many small crevices on your tongue make ideal hiding spots for sneaky bacteria to collect? If you don’t brush your tongue regularly, you place yourself at risk for bad breath and other dental issues. That’s why when it comes to proper oral hygiene, DON’T brush off the importance of cleaning your tongue!

What Happens if You Don’t Brush Your Tongue?

Have you ever studied your tongue in the mirror? If so, you may have noticed that the surface of the tongue is covered in hundreds of tiny bumps, known as papillae, which give the tongue its somewhat rough texture. This bumpy surface can easily harbor debris, plaque and bacteria. Therefore, if you don’t brush your tongue regularly, layers of bacteria known as biofilm can collect in the mouth, making it a breeding ground for bad breath, tooth decay, cavities, gingivitis and periodontitis. When biofilm naturally combines with amino acids, it can also wreak havoc on your smile by attacking healthy tooth enamel. On top of these dental dilemmas, an unsightly, slimy yellow buildup of plaque can form on the teeth, accompanied by dreaded bad breath. BUT, brushing your tongue regularly can eliminate harmful biofilms and bacteria to preserve your smile and your oral health.

Won’t Mouthwash Keep My Tongue Clean?

While mouthwash is a great addition to your oral hygiene routine, it is NOT an adequate substitute for tongue brushing. Mouthwash does help fight plaque and keep breath fresh but the actual brushing of the tongue is necessary to truly eliminate biofilms and bacteria from collecting and festering. So, you should be swishing and brushing to attain the healthiest smile.

How Often Should I Brush My Tongue? What is the Best Way to Brush My Tongue?

We recommend that you brush your tongue every time you brush! But note that it is especially important to brush the tongue right before bed to wash away the day’s bacteria and wake up with a fresh start. The key is to use a small amount of toothpaste, start at the back of the tongue and work your way to the front of the mouth. Just as you brush your teeth and gums, use gentle but firm pressure and brush for approximately 15-30 seconds. Rinse your mouth with water immediately afterwards. Just be sure to use a soft bristled toothbrush and take care not to brush or scrape the tongue too harshly to avoid it becoming overly dry or sore. Some toothbrush models now even include a tongue-brushing attachment so be on the lookout for these cool gadgets on store shelves.

How Can I Tell if My Tongue is Healthy?

Say Ahhhhh… and check out the color of your tongue. Is it a nice, fairly even shade of pink with a smattering of bumpy papillae present? If so, your tongue looks healthy! However, if you notice any odd discoloration or white patches on the tongue, it is a good idea to consult your dentist or doctor. Typically, anything noticeably white, red or sore may signal “tongue trouble,” which could also be an indication of other health issues. It’s important to note, however, that other factors such as diet, hydration, and lifestyle can also impact the healthy appearance and function of the tongue. That is why it is so important to see your dentist (and your primary doctor) regularly to monitor for anything unusual.

Don’t leave your oral health to chance! Be sure your dental routine includes taking care of your entire mouth, which includes your teeth, your gums and your tongue.

Do you need a “brush-up” on your oral hygiene routine? Contact the Dr. E Cosmetic & Family Dentistry team to schedule your next cleaning or consult. Remember, we’re always here for you and your family’s dental needs!