Countless patients do an excellent job of brushing their teeth each day, but they neglect to brush their tongue. While you may not be concerned with showing off a clean tongue like you are your teeth, tongue brushing is an essential step towards optimal oral health. Just like your teeth, your tongue can harbor bacteria after you consume foods and drinks. In fact, the rough surface of your tongue can often attract more bacteria than your pearly whites. To avoid gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath, take the time to give your tongue a solid scrub too.
Bad Breath and More
The root cause of bad breath, or halitosis, can be traced back to oral debris on the tongue in nearly 85% of all cases. Your tongue surface consists of tiny papillae and numerous grooves. It is also warm and moist. This creates an ideal environment for bacteria to live and breed. Bacteria feed on the leftovers from your meals and dead cells that remain on the tongue. As this bacteria breeds, it produces foul smelling sulfur compounds that give you bad breath. The best way to fight this ugly (and embarrassing) process is to brush your tongue on a daily basis.
Not only are you setting yourself up for bad breath when you avoid cleaning your tongue, but you may also be sabotaging your teeth brushing efforts. If you’ve cleaned your teeth but not your tongue, it is only a matter of time before all of the remaining bacteria on the tongue gets transferred to your teeth again. It only takes a few hours! With bacteria adhering to your tooth enamel and gums, you’re subject to decay and gum disease – despite your brushing job.
How to Brush Your Tongue
One of the most important takeaways about tongue brushing technique pertains to cleaning all surfaces. This means you need to scrub the top, sides and underneath. Don’t forget to rinse thoroughly when you’re done. Many patients opt for a tongue scraper, which works best if you have a sensitive gag reflex.
For more reasons why it is important to add tongue brushing to your oral hygiene routine, contact Sunrise Dental and Implant Center. We proudly offer halitosis treatment and do our best to educate patients on the importance of proper dental care at home.