Not all bacteria in your body is harmful, although some of them can be pretty dangerous. If you don’t clean them regularly and thoroughly, they can quickly multiply and cause all sort of oral problems like bad breath, tooth decay, infections, gum disease and tooth discoloration. Good oral hygiene should include brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing and visiting your dentist at least every six months. However, there’s one thing that most people forget to include into their daily oral hygiene routine and that is tongue cleaning. Today we will discuss the benefits of tongue cleaning and why is it important.
Benefits of tongue cleaning
The main goal of good oral hygiene is to have good oral health. Tongue cleaning can improve this further. Here’s how.
You remove bacteria through tongue cleaning
The majority of dental problems is caused by bacterial buildup. So if you’re having bad breath, cavities, gum disease or tooth decay, it’s highly likely that they were caused by bacteria. Now we can remove as much of the bacteria from our teeth, but there is still some left on our tongue and we need to take care of them too. This is where tongue cleaning comes in and makes sure that the balance of bacteria in your mouth is optimal.
When bacteria build up on your tongue, they cover your taste buds and your sense of taste will be affected, meaning that you won’t be able to taste the food/drinks properly. When you regularly cleaning your tongue, the excess bacteria will be removed and this could enhance your sense of taste.
Get rid of bad breath
Tongue cleaning can reduce the number of lactobacilli and streptococci in our mouth, which are well-known causes of bad breath. So, before thinking that the cause has something to do with your teeth or GI tract, make sure that you clean your tongue at least twice a day.
Tongue cleaning improves digestion
The digestion process doesn’t start in your stomach, but in your mouth. When you chew, you are mechanically digesting your food and the enzymes in your saliva, start breaking some of it down. This makes the food to be digested easily. When our tongue is clean, these enzymes are activated more efficiently which means that our digestion is better.
Better immune system
If bacteria aren’t removed and cleaned from our bodies, the toxins that they produce, can buildup and harm our immune system, making us more susceptible to various diseases. But if we keep the number of bacteria on a low (or optimal) level, we can keep and maintain our immune system healthy.
Tongue cleaning done right
If you never cleaned your tongue before, this should be helpful. First of all, you need to buy yourself a tongue scraper. You can find them at drug stores and even online e.g., on Amazon. Tongue cleaning involves several steps:
- Keeping your mouth open and sticking your tongue out
- Putting the tongue scraper on the back of your tongue and pulling it forward to collect debris and saliva
- Cleaning the scraper with water
- Repeating these steps at least 3-5 tines, making sure that you always start with a clean scraper
- Rinse your mouth with water once you’re done.
All this can be done with a regular toothbrush, if you don’t have a scraper. The process is the same but remember, you have to start with a clean toothbrush every time.
Tongue cleaning is essential in keeping good oral hygiene. But to be absolutely sure that your oral health is good, that your gums, teeth and tongue are healthy, scheduling dental appointments twice a year is highly recommended.