Taking care of the tongue is an important part of maintaining a healthy mouth. The tongue is a fleshy collection of muscles that aids with speaking, chewing, and swallowing. Papillae – the small bumps all over the tongue – grants humans the ability to discern different tastes of food and feel various textures in the mouth. The tongue can also house bad bacteria, which could result in bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. Cleaning the tongue on a regular basis will help prevent bad bacteria from building up and spreading throughout the mouth. Cleaning the tongue will also remove excess food debris and dead cells that could otherwise lead to oral issues if left untreated.
The tongue can be cleaned with a toothbrush or a tongue scraper. For those using a toothbrush, the tongue only needs a few gentle strokes with toothpaste. For those using a tongue scraper, place the scraper at the back of the tongue and pull forward. Although toothbrushes are efficient cleaning tools, tongue scrapers are more effective at removing plaque and bacteria off of the tongue’s surface. Studies also reveal that in comparison, tongue scrapers are more efficient at preventing bad breath and removing bacteria.
Tongue scrapers come in various shapes and sizes to tailor to everyone’s specific needs. They’re also available in various materials, such as plastic, copper, and stainless steel. They can be found at any drug store and cost an average of 10 dollars or less.
Tongue scraping should be added to the last step of the cleaning process. Once individuals have finished brushing, flossing, and rinsing, they should grab their tongue scraper and lightly pull it from the back of the tongue to the front. They should apply light pressure as they scrape at least twice. Tongue scraping should not hurt, and if it does, decrease the amount of pressure. The tongue scraper should be rinsed between each scrape and upon completion.
If the tongue shows visual signs of infection even after cleaning, it’s important to follow up with a dentist. Signs of infection include sores, pain, and white, black, or red discoloration. If these signs persist for longer than two weeks, a dental professional will need to evaluate the mouth and prescribe treatment accordingly.
At McBride Dental, we are dedicated to helping each of our patients meet their oral health goals and maintain them for a lifetime. We believe everyone deserves to enjoy the smile of their desires, which is why we offer various preventative care services, such as X-rays, deep cleanings, in-depth dental examinations, and more. For those suffering from oral complications, such as cavities, gum disease, or tooth loss, we offer services to treat those issues as well. We provide tooth fillings, gum disease treatment, and dental implants or dentures. We even offer teeth whitening services for those who want to brighten their smiles. Contact our office today at (760) 471-1003 if you would like to schedule an appointment.