Do you clean your tongue?

Do you clean your tongue?

Brushed teeth. Tick. Flossed. Tick. Rinsed with mouthwash. Tick. Cleaned tongue…?

It might seem a strange concept, but your tongue does harbour bacteria, just like the other areas of your mouth, and these bacteria can play a part in causing bad breath. In fact, the majority of the bacteria in your mouth are accommodated by your tongue, they literally live and breed there. If you brush your teeth but fail to clean your tongue, the bacteria from your tongue will be transferred to your teeth again, along with other areas of your mouth.

The uneven surface of your tongue makes it an ideal place for bacteria to hide, which is why rinsing with mouthwash alone isn’t enough to remove them – they need to be physically brushed or scraped off. While you can use a toothbrush, a purpose-made tongue cleaner (tongue scraper) is more effective for the soft muscular tissue of your tongue.

Tongue cleaning techniques

Like the rest of your oral care routine, you should be cleaning your tongue daily. An important part of the technique to remember is to always begin at the back of the tongue and work forward to the tip.

  • Using your toothbrush – after spitting out excess toothpaste, use your moistened toothbrush gently scrub from back to tip, utilizing the residual toothpaste in your mouth. You can also gently scrub the inside of your cheeks and the roof of your mouth.
  • Using a tongue scraper – A tongue scraper should be used at the beginning of your routine – prior to brushing and flossing. First, stick out your tongue and use the scraper to scrape from the back of the tongue to the tip, applying even pressure. Rinse the scraper and repeat. Make sure that the scraper is thoroughly cleaned and dried after use.

For further advice, tips and techniques to maximize your oral hygiene routine make an appointment with our experienced dentists at Tindale Dental Centre in Penrith. You can schedule an appointment with our friendly team on (02) 4722 6115.