Oral & Vision Health Blog

5 Reasons Why You Should Brush Your Tongue

You know that it is important to brush your teeth twice a day to maintain good oral health, but did you also know how important it is to brush your tongue? Just like our teeth, the tongue can collect bacteria throughout the day and if not cleaned every day, oral problems can arise. Brushing your tongue might seem like an unnecessary step, but there are a few reasons why it’s important.

  1. Halitosis (Bad Breath): The most common problem associated with not brushing your tongue is bad breath. Most of the bacteria in your mouth live on your tongue and breed, spreading onto your teeth. By not brushing your tongue the bacteria will eventually develop a terrible odor. There are other ways of getting bad breath and you can read about in our blog What Causes Bad Breath and More Oral Health Questions for Your Dentist.
  2. Diminished Taste Buds: If you ever found yourself biting into your favorite snack and being disappointed by the dull taste then you might have diminished taste buds. By not brushing your tongue, a biofilm of bacteria and old food particles can build up and cover your taste buds, making everything taste dull.
  3. Oral Thrush (Yeast Infection): This may come to you as a shock, but you can develop a yeast infection in your mouth by not brushing your tongue. With too much bacteria build-up, a yeast infection can form, making white patches appear on your tongue. This can be treated with antifungal medications and brushing your tongue regularly.
  4. Periodontal Disease: When bacteria build up on your tongue it transfers to your teeth, causing your gums to become red and inflamed. If your gums aren’t treated properly, this inflammation can turn into periodontal disease. This disease may lead to serious health risks and if diagnosed, it is important to schedule a periodontal scaling appointment with your dentist.
  5. Black Hair Tongue: It’s just as awful as it sounds. This occurs when the papillae — the tiny bumps on your tongue — get stained by dark dark foods and drinks, such as red wine, coffee, or soda. If the stains aren’t brushed away, the tongue gets a dark, hair-like appearance. This can easily be removed by brushing your tongue and rinsing your mouth with mouthwash.

How to Brush Your Tongue

Brushing your tongue should become a part of your brushing routine, meaning you should do it every time you brush. Make sure to brush gently, brushing with too much pressure or too vigorously can damage the fragile skin on your tongue. Colgate recommends you use a separate toothbrush or a tongue scraper for your tongue to avoid transmitting any plague or bacteria to your teeth.

Brushing your tongue with a toothbrush:

♦ Brush back and forth

♦ Brush side-to-side

♦ Rinse with water

Using a tongue scraper:

♦ Firmly, but gently, scrape forward in one long stroke

♦ Rinse the scraper and repeat until your tongue feels clean 

Following a regular oral care routine that focuses on good hygiene is the best way to battle bacteria in your mouth. In a good routine, tongue brushing should always be included. Download our free diagram on selecting the right toothpaste to get started on building good oral health.

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