As you know, Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert is big on oral hygiene. But did you know that one of the basic practices of good oral hygiene that many people overlook is the need to clean our tongues? Along with brushing and flossing, this should be done daily. You can use a regular toothbrush, or you can use a purpose-built tool: a tongue scraper. There are many benefits to developing this oral health habit, so let’s take a look at several of the best ones.
1. Reduces sulphur compounds
When sulphur compounds build up on your tongue, they contribute to bad breath. The sulphur residue can be a result of foods that you eat, such as garlic and cheese. Or they can be the by-product of bacterial waste elimination. Tongue scrapers can remove about 75% of these compounds. Toothbrushes are about 45% effective.
2. Reduces bacteria
Bacteria not only help to cause halitosis, but they also are the precursors to dental caries. Brushing and flossing removes most bacteria from your teeth and gums, but bacteria can remain on your tongue unless you remove it. And just as bacteria causes plaque on your teeth, it does the same on your tongue. Using a toothbrush or a tongue scraper regularly will help keep the bacteria levels low.
3. Freshens your mouth
By removing the layer of residue on your tongue, your mouth will feel fresher. Food will taste better and your tongue will be healthier through stimulation. Brushing or scraping your tongue is far more effective at removing harmful bacteria than using mouthwash alone.
How to brush your tongue
It’s pretty simple and straightforward to use a toothbrush to clean your tongue. You will do a better job with a soft bristle brush, so try using a child’s toothbrush. Sticking your tongue out as far as you can, brush from the back of the tongue to the front. You can also brush backwards and forwards as long as you spit and rinse every few cycles. If you have a strong gag reflex at the back of your mouth, take it easy at first. You will learn to relax as you become comfortable. When you are finished, rinse again, and wash out your toothbrush so no bacteria can grow there.
How to scrape your tongue
A study has shown that a tongue scraper is more effective than a toothbrush for removing bacteria from your tongue. There are different shapes and styles, and you can easily find them online. The procedure for scraping is the same as brushing. Start at the back and scrape to the front of your mouth. You can repeat this until your tongue is clean. Be sure to rinse the scraper after each pass; otherwise, you are just spreading the bacteria around.
Come see us
Your tongue can be a good indicator of your general health. If you notice any changes, call Lifetime Family Dental for a checkup. Look for red or pink patches: these could indicate a serious condition. If your tongue takes on a black or yellow tinge, or appears smooth or glossy, be sure to give us a call. Another indication that you need to come in is if your tongue develops sores or lumps that don’t heal after a few weeks.
Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert is here to give you the best care possible for your dental needs. We have flexible hours to meet many individual schedules. We also have discounts and flexible payment plans so the cost of dentistry should not be an issue. Our concern is your oral health. We look forward to hearing from you!