There are over 700 species of bacteria that live in your mouth. Because of the bumps and crevices on your tongue, lots of them stick to its surface!
Does it seem like you are spending hours and hours on your dental hygiene, brushing, flossing, rinsing, repeating, all to no avail. People still turn their head away when you speak to them and then politely offer you a breath mint. Your dentist still clucks his tongue disapprovingly as he peers into your mouth before firing up the drill, and you still wake up in the morning feeling like a small animal has nested in your mouth overnight.
Then, despite your investment of time and the money you’re spending on fancy mouthwashes, etc. you’re probably missing a very important step in the whole dental hygiene process. Do you brush your tongue?
Should you brush your tongue?
Over 700 different types of bacteria live in the human mouth. And because the surface of your tongue is full of bumps and crevices, they can all hide away on it while you work on your teeth, and then spread out around the mouth again once the danger has passed.
So yes, you should brush your tongue, and here are five very compelling reasons why:
Halitosis, or bad breath, is caused by a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. People usually fight this with antiseptic mouthwashes, but regularly brushing your tongue will contribute greatly to keeping the bacteria count down and your breath smelling fresh.
2. Oral yeast infection
Excess bacteria can cause naturally occuring yeast in the mouth to get out of control, resulting in Oral Thrush, a yeast infection of the mouth. This forms a white film or blotchy patches on top of the tongue. The treatment is antifungal medication and brushing your tongue will prevent a recurrence.
3. Gum disease
We all know that we brush our teeth to remove plaque and prevent tooth decay and gum disease, but this is only half the battle. If we don’t brush our tongues as well, a lot of harmful bacteria will remain in our mouths and start attacking our teeth all over again, ultimately causing periodontitis and tooth loss.
4. Furry tongue
Red wine, coffee and food can all stain the tongue and give it a furry appearance and feel. Brushing your tongue in the evening to remove the detritus of the day will keep your tongue looking and feeling pink and fresh and not give it black hairy tongue feel.
5. Bland tasting food
If the bacteria in your mouth are allowed to flourish unchecked, it will form a film over your tongue, where your taste buds are located. The result is food will seem to lose its flavor.
How should you brush your tongue
You can use either a special tongue scraper, a metal spoon, the rubber ridges on the back of the head of your tooth brush, or the brush itself.
Just pass your chosen instrument gently over the surface of your tongue several times, from back to front, and then rinse.
Whatever you use, be careful not to press too hard and hurt the surface of your tongue, and make sure to clean your instrument both before and after use.
Just by adding a tongue-brushing to your dental hygiene routine you can significantly impact on your oral, and overall, health so start doing this simple little procedure today and you’ll soon notice the difference, you won’t be offered so many breath mints for a start!