Dentist Ithaca Brush More Than Just Teeth

The Importance of Brushing Your Tongue

When it comes to dental health, we often focus on our teeth and gums. While these are two vital components, we cannot overlook the health of the tongue. Did you know that tongue can hold bacteria that can create bad breath, as well as affect your teeth and gums? Brushing or cleaning your tongue twice a day during your dental routine is a must.
 

Why Clean your Tongue?

 

The tongue is a series of muscles that we utilize to taste, talk and help with chewing. The surface of your tongue contains tiny bumps called papillae. In these “bumps” are grooves which collect bacteria, dead skin cells and food particles. If they are not properly cleaned from your tongue you may suffer from:
 
- Halitosis
- Discoloration 
- Bacteria build up that transfers to the gums and teeth
 

How to Clean your Tongue

 
Brushing and scraping are the two main ways to clean your tongue. Most people prefer to brush their tongues, as it can be easily added to your brushing routine. 
 
1. Brushing
 
After brushing your teeth, reapply toothpaste to your toothbrush and begin brushing the tongue. Apply pressure, but not so much that you feel uncomfortable or this makes you gag. Rinse your mouth once you have completely brushed the tongue. 
 
2. Scraping
 
Tongue scrapers are made of metal or plastic. Most convenience stores sell plastic one-use disposable scrapers, but it is better to buy a reusable metal one. Begin towards the back of your tongue and make your way forward. Be sure to cover each surface including the center and sides. Make sure to rinse your mouth once you have finished.
 
If you do experience a gag reflex while brushing, try a gentler approach. You can also try exhaling lightly while brushing your teeth to help offset the gag reflex.  If you are still having issues and difficulty brushing your teeth, Dr. John Comisi, one of your top Ithaca dentists may recommend a tongue scrapper instead. Remember, your tongue is a vital part of your mouth. It should be brushed twice a day, every day, along with your teeth.