You’ve probably heard that brushing your tongue can help improve your breath. While that’s true, there are a number of additional health benefits that come from adding tongue brushing to your regular oral health routine, along with brushing and flossing your teeth. Here’s the skinny on tongue brushing from your favorite orthodontist in Melbourne, FL.
What Should You Clean Your Tongue With?
You may have heard that you should brush your tongue with your toothbrush, with a special tongue scraper that you can buy at any pharmacy or grocery store, or both. Which method works best? According to a study published in the Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, it doesn’t matter! So long as you are brushing or scraping your tongue, or both, you will have fresher breath and will also experience the many additional benefits of having a clean tongue.
If you’ve ever brushed your tongue with your toothbrush, you probably noticed that your mouth feels fresher immediately. Most bad breath doesn’t come from your teeth. It comes from your tongue. More specifically, it comes from a buildup of bacteria on the surface of your tongue. The bacteria release a sulfur compound that causes bad breath. Brushing those bacteria away fixes the problem.
Food Tastes Better
Having a tongue that is fully coated can dull your sense of taste. The buildup of debris and bacteria on the tongue can prevent you from properly tasting foods and drinks. Keeping your tongue clean will allow you to enjoy the full flavor of everything you consume.
Reduced Risk of Cavities
Most people don’t realize that the bacteria on their tongue can contribute to cavities. Even if you brush and floss your teeth every day, the bacteria can still easily migrate to your teeth and go to work creating cavities. Gum disease, tooth decay, and other problems can be staved off if you keep your tongue clean.
Better Systemic Health
The medical community has known for a long time that oral health problems can contribute to heart failure, diabetes, respiratory difficulty, and other serious health issues. By keeping your oral health in better condition overall, from brushing, flossing, and tongue cleaning, you reduce the risk of other systemic health problems.
Digest Foods Better
The digestive process actually starts in the mouth, when enzymes in the saliva begin to break down foods. Keeping a clean tongue helps maintain the proper balance between your saliva and food, which in turn helps with the digestive process. To get the full benefit of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in your food, you should brush your tongue.
Improved Oral Hygiene
Cleaning your tongue cannot replace your regular teeth brushing and flossing routine, but it can complement them. Getting rid of the bacteria on your tongue will help to rid your mouth of harmful microorganisms that would otherwise remain there.
An unclean tongue has a grayish appearance that can be unsightly or embarrassing. Keeping it clean helps it maintain a healthy, pink appearance that can enhance your smile or improve your self-confidence.
How to Properly Clean Your Tongue
As mentioned above, it doesn’t matter if you brush your tongue with a toothbrush, scraper, or both. What matters is that you clean properly.
Position your toothbrush or scraper at the back of the tongue and brush forward. Brushing the opposite way can push harmful bacteria further back into the mouth, defeating the whole purpose. By brushing or scraping your tongue from back to front, you will get those excess bacteria out of your mouth, especially if you rinse the brush or scraper between each stroke.
Cleaning your tongue provides fresher breath and many additional benefits. This reduces the risk of everything from cavities to heart disease. It’s a quick and simple task that you can add to your daily oral health care routine, in order to immediately start reaping the benefits.
If you have any questions about oral health care, or you’re looking for a family orthodontist in Melbourne, FL, contact us at our office to schedule an appointment.