The Best Oral Hygiene Includes Brushing Your Tongue
We hate to be the ones to point out on a frequent basis that your mouth is an excellent habitat for unhealthy, bad breath causing bacteria, but someone has to do it. And at Downtown Dental Associates of Portland, we care enough to be that someone. So in an effort to help our patients — and anyone interested in oral hygiene — we recommend daily tongue brushing to help keep your mouth healthy and your breath fresh.
Most people, who take their oral hygiene seriously, brush and floss at least daily, but how many people miss the very important step of brushing the tongue? We can tell you from experience that it’s a lot. This important part of oral hygiene is often overshadowed by early instruction on brushing and flossing.
Most of the time people don’t even know they’re supposed to be brushing their tongue when they brush and floss their teeth. But if you think about the structure of the tongue, you’ll understand why it’s important to make life difficult for bacteria that try to live there.
The truth is, the tongue can be home to more bacteria than the entire rest of your mouth. Why? It may look smooth, but the tongue is covered with tiny peaks and valleys that are perfect habitat for bacteria to thrive — and multiply — if they aren’t removed regularly.
And removal is the easy part.
Brush and floss your teeth first. Then, with either a wet toothbrush or one with toothpaste on it, work in small circular motions, scrubbing the tongue from the back to the front.
The hang up for many people, especially those with a sensitive gag reflex, is to keep from gagging while brushing the tongue. The gag reflex is just that, a reflex, and if you are careful to avoid the very back of the tongue where the reflex originates, you can avoid gagging. Just follow the simple rule: If you gag, you’ve gone too far.
You can use your regular toothbrush for tongue cleaning or buy a special brush or scraper designed for the job. Any of these to remove much of the bacteria on your tongue and leave you with a cleaner, healthier mouth and fresh breath.
Contact Downtown Dental Associates of Portland today if you have any questions about oral hygiene or to talk about any of your dental needs.