Most of us are familiar with the benefits of brushing our teeth twice a day, but have you ever made time to clean your tongue too? We grow up with teeth cleaning incorporated into our daily routine, but brushing your tongue is also really important.
Why you should clean your tongue
When you brush your teeth, you remove food debris and bacteria from your mouth and give the hard enamel surface a good polish. The aim of brushing is not just to freshen your breath and make your teeth sparkle. It’s also to reduce the risk of plaque formation. Plaque is a colourless substance, which develops when bits of food are combined with bacteria and saliva. If you brush frequently, there’s a much lower risk of plaque forming, and this lowers the chances of you suffering from decay and gum disease. Cleaning your tongue offers the same benefits, but it also helps to tackle bad breath. When you brush the tongue, you eliminate harmful bacteria, which keeps plaque at bay, but you’ll also be taking positive steps towards preventing bad breath. This is because many cases of halitosis are linked to bacteria located at the back of the tongue. These bacteria multiply, and when they feed, they release gases, which have an unpleasant odour.
Tongue cleaning tips
When you clean your tongue, you can use your normal toothbrush or a tongue scraper. If you are using your brush, take care when you reach towards the back of the mouth, as this may trigger your gag reflex. Be gentle. If you need any advice about cleaning your tongue or you’re not sure what to do, your dentist will be happy to offer some helpful tips.