Don’t Forget to Brush Your… Tongue

Image of a dog's tongue licking a woman's face to illustrate the need to brush the tongue

For the most part, everyone knows that you should brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once a day. But did you know that you should be cleaning your tongue as well?

Why brush your tongue?

Your tongue is covered in taste buds, crevices, and other structures that make the perfect little homes for bacteria to live. If they are left to themselves, the bacteria can overcome your tongue and cause bad breath, tooth damage, and can even affect your ability to taste properly.

Image of a dog's tongue licking a woman's face to illustrate the need to brush the tongueHow to brush your tongue

Whenever you brush your teeth, you should be brushing your tongue. Brush back and forth and side to side. Then, when you have completed brushing, you can rinse with an antiseptic mouth rinse (like Listerine).  You do want to be careful that you are not over-brushing because you can damage the skin if you get too aggressive going after that bacteria!

Some people prefer to use a tongue scraper – it’s a long handled, horse-shoe shaped tool you can find in the dental aisle of your drug store. You place it at the back of your tongue and pull forward to the front – firmly, yet gently. Repeat a few times until you have covered the entire surface of your tongue. You will want to be sure to clean off your tongue scraper after each use with hot water and soap; otherwise, that bacteria will start living on the tongue scraper and it won’t be much use to you when that happens!

You should notice that after you start cleaning your tongue, any bad breath you may have been experiencing should go away. If you find that it’s still a problem, however, you should consult with your dentist. There could be a more serious issue that will require further investigation.

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