Studies have shown that having a clean tongue reduces the amount of plaque that can develop on a person’s teeth. Since plaque is the culprit that leads to cavities and gum disease, it’s a good reason to keep your tongue clean and fresh. When undergoing treatment with braces, it’s even more important to reduce plaque. That is why your Melbourne orthodontist will recommend cleaning your tongue on a regular basis. Here are some reasons why a clean tongue is important, and what you should be doing to clean your tongue.
Benefits of a Clean Tongue
It is more difficult to clean your teeth through brushing and flossing when you are wearing braces. You will get used to the routine, but it’s just a fact that the wire and brackets make the job of eliminating plaque more difficult. Here’s the problem: even if you are completely diligent and follow all of your orthodontist’s instructions when it comes to brushing and flossing, your tongue can undo a lot of that effort.
The surface of the tongue is actually porous at a microscopic level. It’s a place that gathers a biofilm, food particles and other bacteria that can cause plaque. If you brush your teeth but don’t clean your tongue, the bacteria on the tongue can still lead to plaque, tooth decay, and cavities. It pays to keep a clean tongue!
Here are some other benefits of having a clean tongue:
- Removes odor-causing bacteria that can give you bad breath.
- Improves the performance of your taste buds over time.
- A clean tongue boosts your immune system and helps with digestion.
Use A Tongue Scraper
A tongue scraper is a tool that you can find in most pharmacies and grocery stores in the toothbrush and toothpaste aisle. It has a plastic handle and a triangular head. Unlike toothbrushes which can wear out over time, a tongue scraper can last many years if maintained properly. There is even some research that shows that a tongue scraper is more effective at cleaning the tongue than simply brushing it with your toothbrush.
To use a tongue scraper, simply stick out your tongue once you’re done brushing your teeth. Put the scraper on the back of your tongue, as far back as you are able to without causing a gag reflex. Apply light pressure and scrape your tongue from back to front. Rinse the film off of the scraper to remove bacteria. Repeat this process until the entire tongue has been scraped. The tongue scraper will also be releasing bacteria into the mouth, so be sure to spit any saliva out and rinse your mouth after a tongue scraping. Clean the entire top surface of the tongue between two and five times. Keep the scraper clean and store it in a place where it can be kept dry.
Use A Toothbrush
If you don’t have a tongue scraper handy, your regular toothbrush can also be used. Many people find it easy to just use the toothbrush, especially if they don’t have a scraper around.
Stick your tongue out to clean it with a toothbrush. Press the brush against the tongue as far back in the mouth as you can. Brush gently from back to front, frequently rinsing the brush with warm water. Repeat several times in a row for the best results. It can also leave the mouth feeling fresh and clean if you apply a little bit of toothpaste to the brush, and also brush the roof of your mouth. Rinse with mouthwash or water to finish the tongue cleaning process.
Contact Melbourne Orthodontics
If you think you or your child would benefit from braces or other orthodontic treatment, contact us at Melbourne Orthodontics in Melbourne. We will get you scheduled for your first exam with Dr. Reddick, and recommend the best course of treatment for your oral health care.