Our tongues are amazing, they help us speak, eat, and enjoy our food. However, “more than 700 different bacterial species live in the mouth” and cause problems. With different foods passing over our tongue, germs entering through the air we breathe, and the bacteria shared through kissing, it’s no wonder that there would be a need to brush our tongues. When you take a close look at your tongue, you’ll notice that there are many bumps and crevices—plenty of spaces for bacteria to get stuck. While your tongue cleans itself with saliva and you can help the process by rinsing your mouth, the best way to have a clean tongue is to brush it with a toothbrush after you’ve brushed and flossed your teeth. Here are three problems that can be solved by brushing your tongue.
Brushing your tongue can reduce the odor coming from your mouth. Having bad breath is embarrassing. Whether you are on a date, in a job interview, or talking to friends, nobody wants to be close to someone with bad breath. If you don’t regularly clean your tongue, the bacteria stuck in the crevices of your taste buds will begin to release foul smells. A quick tongue-brush with some toothpaste and your breath will be fresh and clean.
Black Hairy Tongue
Do you remember when you were a kid and you would eat a blue-raspberry candy to turn your tongue blue? This fun experiment can turn nasty if you never brush away the stained papillae on your tongue. Coffee and red wine are especially known for staining both your teeth and tongue. If left to fester, stains will give your tongue a dark, furry appearance. It’s harmless, but unpleasant to look at and experience. Though with some light tongue-brushing, this should go away in a couple of days.
Most people focus on their teeth during their oral hygiene routine—which is good. It’s not like your tongue causes cavities. However, the bacteria on your tongue can spread to your teeth which will give you a much larger problem than cavities if it’s left untreated… periodontal disease. Periodontal disease causes your gums to pull away from your teeth and become infected. While periodontal disease can cause your teeth to fall out, it is also known to lead to a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. Simply brushing your tongue can help you prevent much larger health problems. If you are afraid you are developing periodontitis or another severe dental issue, visit a dental clinic near you.
How to Brush Your Tongue
Brushing your tongue is easy. Simply apply some toothpaste to your toothbrush, and, starting from the back, brush your tongue gently toward the front. Then try going side-to-side. The most convenient time to brush your tongue is right after you brush your teeth, this way it can be added to your oral hygiene routine with no extra thought. Be careful not to brush too hard. If you are making your tongue bleed, dial back your brushing and be a little softer.