The Why & How of Brushing Your Tongue

Closeup of man demonstrating how to clean your tongueBrushing your teeth is about so much more than keeping those pearly whites sparkling and cavity-free. You also need to be cleaning the soft tissues in your mouth, such as your gums, inside of your cheeks, and your tongue. Just like your teeth, plaque and bacteria continuously build up on these surfaces and can cause serious oral health issues if not cleaned away regularly. This is especially true for your tongue! Read on to learn more about why it’s essential that you keep this group of muscles healthy and how to clean your tongue properly.

A Healthy Tongue & A Happy Smile

Even though your tongue may look smooth, it’s covered in tiny bumps and grooves. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for these small spaces to trap plaque, food debris, bacteria, and dead skin cells and hold them there with a thin layer of mucus. Cleaning your tongue regularly will:

  • Prevent bad breath: As the particles trapped on your tongue begin to decay, they will release foul-smelling gasses that lace your breath with a bad odor. Recent studies found that cleaning your tongue clears away 75% of the debris that causes bad breath.
  • Reduce oral bacteria: Regular tongue cleaning will keep oral bacteria from growing and multiplying on your tongue. If left unchecked, it could cause tongue infections like oral thrush and even respiratory infections if inhaled.
  • Lower risk of tooth decay and gum disease: As bacteria, food debris, and other particles accumulate on an uncleaned tongue, they’re more likely to cause oral health issues like tooth decay, dental infections, and gum disease.

How to Keep Your Tongue Clean

Thankfully, cleaning your tongue is an easy habit that will fit right into your normal daily dental routine. There are two ways to effectively clean your tongue:

  • Use a tongue-scraper: This hoop-tipped tool is designed to scrap off the layer of mucus on your tongue as well as all the particles that have been trapped underneath it. Tongue scrapers are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and can be found practically anywhere you buy toothbrushes. To use a tongue scraper, place the hoop on the back of your tongue and gently pull forward. When you get to the tip of your tongue, rinse off the scraper and repeat the gesture on the unscraped side of your tongue.
  • Use your normal toothbrush: You can use your normal toothbrush to effectively clean your tongue as well. After you’ve brushed your teeth, use the dampened toothbrush to carefully massage your tongue with small circular strokes and clean away the particles. It’s a good idea to start at the back of your tongue and work your way forward to ensure you don’t accidently swallow any of the dislodged debris.

A healthy, fresh smile starts with a clean tongue. Cleaning your tongue daily is an easy and efficient way to boost your oral health!

About the Practice

Our talented team here at West Brookfield Dental is dedicated to helping smiles of all ages look and feel their best for a lifetime. We’re proud to combine state-of-the-art technology and a friendly, welcoming office atmosphere to make achieving optimal oral health as pleasant as possible. Whether you need a simple cleaning or a more complex treatment, our highly experienced team is ready to help your smile look and feel


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