Most people spend a lot of time keeping their teeth and gums in tiptop shape. While that’s great, everyone needs to remember another essential part of the mouth: the tongue.
The tongue plays many important roles. It helps us speak clearly and articulate sounds. It also provides a method for us to get food and beverages into our throat. Plus, the tongue is outfitted with lots of taste buds, so we can distinguish salty, sweet, bitter and sour ingredients from one another.
Although the tongue does a fairly adequate job of keeping itself as clean as possible, you can and should make tongue hygiene a part of your regular oral care routine.
Why Is Tongue Hygiene Important?
Tongue hygiene removes unwanted particles and bacteria from the tongue organ’s muscular surfaces. This leaves the breath a little fresher. It also gets rid of obstacles to the tongue functioning at peak efficiency.
If you’re not sure what proper tongue care looks like, check out the following five tips. When done together, these tips ensure you bring a healthy tongue with you to your next general dentist visit!
Tongue Tip #1: Brush Your Tongue When You Brush Your Teeth
This hint will be the easiest to follow because you already have the tools and time to get the job done.
When you brush your teeth in the morning and evening, take a few moments to clean the upper rough part of your tongue with the soft brush bristles. Don’t rub too hard, but put a little pressure on your tongue.
Some toothbrushes have a special tongue brush on the reverse side of the head. You can also buy a tongue scraper to get the same cleaning effect.
Tongue Tip #2: Examine Your Tongue for Any Unusual Lumps, Bumps, Lesions or Sores
When you are at your 6-month dental checkup, you probably undergo a comprehensive oral cancer screening performed by the hygienist. However, you can examine your tongue similarly at home.
Every few weeks, look at your tongue in the mirror under a strong, direct light, such as the flashlight of your cellphone. Look for any indications of unusual spots or strange bumps. If you notice something wrong, get in touch with your dental provider.
Tongue Tip #3: Give Your Tongue Regular Salt Baths
Does your tongue feel especially filmy sometimes, as if it’s covered in a thick substance that won’t quite go away after brushing? Try rinsing your mouth with warm, salty water.
Don’t drink the water, of course. Instead, swish and swirl it around with your tongue. The salt will help neutralize any bacteria and leave your mouth feeling and tasting more normal.
Tongue Tip #4: Drink Lots of Water
Water is good for your whole body, including your tongue. Additionally, the more water you drink, the less build-up of food particles will linger on your tongue.
Carry a water bottle around with you wherever you go. You’ll always be hydrated, and your tongue will be happy.
Tongue Tip #5: Switch Beverages to Include Green Tea
As a final suggestion, try incorporating a glass of hot or cold unsweetened green tea into your daily diet. Green tea is high in antioxidants, and it kills bad mouth bacteria.
Treat Your Tongue Right, Day and Night
Need to schedule a time to meet with a dental provider? Contact Dental Choice today to arrange a consultation or checkup, and make sure your tongue is getting the care it needs.