Brushing More Than Just Teeth

When we are discussing dental health, we often talk about the teeth and gums.  These are two important aspects to dental health, but so is the health of the tongue.  The tongue can hold bacteria that will make your breath stink and it can affect the overall health of the teeth and gums.  Brushing and cleaning your tongue is a must that should be done every day and night during your regular dental routine.


Why Should you Clean your Tongue?

The tongue is used to utilize taste and help us talk.  It is also an important muscle needed for chewing our food.  When looking at the surface of the tongue, you’ll see tiny bumps called papillae.  Inside the papillae are grooves which collect bacteria, dead skin cells and the particles of the food you’ve eaten.  For this reason, it is important to keep the tongue clean.  Otherwise, you might battle the following issues:
- Bad breath
- Tongue that has become discolored
- Bacteria build up that affects the gums and teeth

How to Clean your Tongue

There are two main techniques for cleaning your tongue properly; brushing or scraping.  Most people prefer to brush their tongues because this is easy to do while brushing your teeth.  Here is how to clean your tongue properly:
1. When you’ve completed brushing your teeth, use your moistened toothbrush, with toothpaste, to start brushing the tongue.
2. Apply gentle pressure, but not so much that you feel uncomfortable.  You also want to be careful not to make yourself gag.
3. When you have completely brushed the tongue, be sure to use a rinse to remove any loose particles.
If you are experiencing gagging, try to be more gentle with the brushing.  You can also try to exhale while brushing to offset the gag reflex. If you have any questions, please contact Tenth Street Dental, your top Indianapolis, IN dentist at (317) 358-8885.

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