Did you know that you have more bacteria in your mouth than you do cells in your body? We all know that brushing our teeth and gums greatly reduces cavity-causing bacteria. However, a large portion of mouth bacteria lives on your tongue, not your teeth. If you diligently brush away bacteria and plaque on your teeth each day, yet neglect to brush your tongue, you may be sabotaging your own efforts. The bacteria left on the rough surface of your tongue will essentially be transferred right back onto your teeth in just hours after you’ve brushed.
Tongue brushing provides a generous reward. Not only do you eliminate harmful bacteria in your mouth that could potentially cause cavities and gum disease, but tongue brushing can also get rid of bad breath. Halitosis, or bad breath, is a chronic condition that differs from just temporarily having a bad mouth odor after consuming certain foods or drinks. If you suffer from bad breath on a daily basis, start brushing your tongue!
What is the best way to brush your tongue? Just like teeth, you do not want to only brush one side. Make sure you cover your top surface, sides and even underneath your tongue with a toothbrush. Although your tongue does have a somewhat rougher surface than your smooth tooth enamel, you do not need to brush too hard. Focus on more surface area rather than more force to successfully clear away bacteria on your tongue. Last but not least, don’t forget to rinse! Once you’ve loosened the bacteria from your tongue and teeth, finish the job by rinsing it away.
Dr. Gilreath of Gilreath Family Dentistry is committed to educating patients on the most effective ways to keep their teeth and gums healthy at home. If you have trouble brushing your tongue without gagging, you may choose to use a tongue scraper instead.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,