Dentists frequently state that in addition to flossing and brushing, keeping your tongue clean is an important part of protecting the overall health of your mouth. However, there's some argument as to how people should clean their tongues. While some choose to brush their tongues with their toothbrushes, other tools exist, too. If you're wondering which way is best, here is how to know whether you need another tool for your tongue.
Cleaning Your Tongue Is a Must
The reality is, cleaning your tongue is essential to maintaining or improving your oral health. Although the tongue can't develop problems like cavities or gum disease, it still harbors a great deal of bacteria. This bacteria doesn't stay in one place, and the tongue can potentially spread bacteria all over your mouth, even after a thorough flossing and brushing.
Tongue scrapers can be purchased at nearly any general store, and are specifically designed to remove plaque and bacteria from the tongue. The good news is that if you're already using one of these tools, they're very effective and useful, so you can keep using it.
If you don't have a tongue scraper, you might wonder if you have to buy one for maximum dental health, or if a toothbrush can be used instead. You might be pleased to hear that while tongue scrapers are useful, the American Dental Association has declared that there's no major advantage to using one versus simply using your toothbrush for the job.
If you're still unconvinced, you can always pick up a toothbrush that has a tooth scraper built-in on the back. That way, you get two tools in one to clean all the surfaces of your mouth.
Fixing the Pitfalls of Brushing Your Tongue
One of the main reasons people don't like brushing their tongues and prefer using a separate tool is due to the idea that brushing your tongue creates a buildup of bacteria on your toothbrush. In reality, there isn't any more bacteria coating your toothbrush via your tongue than what's already building up from brushing your teeth.
If you're concerned about the safety of your toothbrush, you can easily kill off the bacteria by soaking your brush in a germ-killing mouthwash when you're not using it. Alternatively, toothbrush sanitizers can be used to destroy bacteria on your toothbrush inbetween uses.
Brushing or scraping your tongue will only add a few extra seconds to your dental hygiene routine, so don't skip it. Whether you choose to use a brush or a scraper, your oral health will be better for it.
For more information, talk to a professional like Dr. Jerry F. Maymi & Associates.
I have never liked my teeth. I had a lot of dental problems, including deep staining and oddly shaped teeth. Every tooth did not have the same shape, and some were rounded while others were more square. Not surprisingly, I never smiled in pictures and not even much in real life. This left people thinking I was mean before they even met me. My dentist told me my best bet to improve the look of my smile was a set of porcelain dental veneers. He said they could make all my teeth white and the same shape. I said I wanted them without any hesitation, and we scheduled my procedures. I love my new teeth, and they really did change my life. I created this blog to help other people living with teeth they don't like realize that they do have options that can improve their smiles and their lives.