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Don’t Forget: You Should Also Clean Your Tongue!

clean your tongueThere is a lot of emphasis about properly brushing your teeth: using a soft-bristle toothbrush, holding your brush at an angle, and brushing for two-minutes. But before you rinse your mouth, it is important that you clean your tongue for the same reasons you clean your teeth and gums.


The mouth is full of harmful bacteria, about 50 percent of which is on your tongue. While bacteria can hide in-between your teeth and in the crevices of your molars, the tongue also has a rough surface comprising ridges and grooves that trap bacteria. Allowing bacteria to build up on your tongue is the biggest cause of bad breath or halitosis, accounting for about 90 percent of cases.


If you brush your teeth and forget to clean your tongue as well, the bacteria on your tongue will just transfer to your teeth, leaving you just as vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease.


What causes a white coated tongue?

A clean and healthy tongue should have a uniform pink color. But if a brown or white film forms on the top, it is a sign of a combination of dead cells, food debris, and bacteria. Fortunately, this condition is not permanent, and proper tongue cleaning or scraping can make your tongue appear healthy again, while reducing the risk of halitosis and other oral health issues.


How to clean your tongue

You should clean the entire surface of your tongue, including the underside to ensure that all debris, dead cells, and bacteria are completely removes. Clean starting from the back to the front, making sure to rinse the tool you’re using after each stroke.


Most of the germs are concentrated at the back of your tongue where it can be a little hard to reach, especially for those with a strong gag reflex. To make tongue cleaning easier, you can use specialty tools such as:


  • A tongue scraper – This tool comprises a soft and flexible plastic (or metal) that gently removes the thin mucus-based film of germs from the surface of your tongue. Start from the back to the front, and remember to rinse after each swipe. Rinse it well after use.


  • A tongue brush – This tool has specially-made bristles that make it easy to clean the tongue crevices. The cleaning technique is the same as for a tongue scraper.


If you don’t have access to these tongue-cleaning tools, you can still use your regular toothbrush, but you will need to be very gentle to avoid injury.


Finally, make cleaning your tongue part of your oral hygiene routine. You can clean your tongue once a day or even twice after brushing. This will give you fresh breath and boost your oral health.


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