Tongues are pretty cool parts of our mouths that not only help us with things like chewing and talking, but taking good care of them is instrumental for a healthy mouth. If not taken care of properly, the tongue alone could create some serious dental concerns. At my dental office in Chapel Hill, we want to make sure all of our patients know the importance of taking care of their tongues and how to do it properly.
A Little Tongue Background
Tongues allow us to chew, swallow, and talk. But they also can directly affect our overall oral health. Home to over 10,000 taste buds, the tongue is often the part of the mouth that’s exposed to the most bacteria and acid. Each tiny taste bud and all those other bumps and dips we can see and feel on the tongue’s surface make a great place for acid and bacteria to hide.
Why it Deserves Attention
Your tongue is in constant contact with your teeth. If your tongue isn’t clean and it’s teeming with bacteria, all of that bacteria is being transferred right onto your teeth. When this happens, the chance for decay greatly increases.
A clean tongue also means no debris obscuring your tastebuds. What’s this mean for you? More flavor and a better tasting meal!
Keeping your tongue clean can fight off bad breath bacteria that may be lurking around. While bad breath can be caused by a variety of things, cleaning your tongue is a great way to help keep your breath fresh. An important note about bad breath, if it’s chronic and doesn’t go away, you should mention it to your dentist immediately as it could be a sign of something serious.
How to Care for it
Every time you brush your teeth, take a few extra seconds to brush your tongue too. Simply stick out your tongue and gently scrub it with your toothbrush. If brushing your tongue is uncomfortable, it’s ok and quite common. Make sure to tell your dentist so you can try an alternative tongue cleaning solution with a tongue scraper. A tongue scraper gently removes bacteria from the tongue’s surface and is easier for those with a sensitive gag reflex to use.
At my Chapel Hill dental office, we’re all about getting and keeping our patients’ smiles healthy. And the tongue is just as important to that goal as brushing and flossing. So make sure you’re brushing at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, flossing once a day, and, as importantly, keeping up with regular appointments with us.
Serving patients from Chapel Hill, Durham, and Pittsboro.