So, you brush your teeth two minutes twice a day, floss regularly and avoid sugary foods (most of the time). You may even chew sugarfree gum after every meal – this increases the flow of saliva that clears away food particles, reducing plaque acid and tooth decay.
But did you know that cleaning your tongue is also a ‘thing’?
Getting rid of unwelcome bacteria doesn’t just mean brushing our teeth and using interdental brushes to clean in between teeth and gums.
And, by the way, a quick swig of mouthwash will not necessarily get rid of bad breath.
Factor in tongue cleaning – and a regular hygienist appointment to improve the health of your mouth and prevent disease – and you’re ensuring a sound investment in the all-round health of your mouth.
However, if tongue cleaning is really such an important part of any oral health regime, why haven’t we heard about it?
Tongue cleaning dates back many years and specifically designed devices for the job have been around since ancient times in India and China.
Even now, traditional Indian medicine recommends daily tongue cleaning in order to remove toxic debris.
Hygienist Melonie Prebble is comparethetreatment’s oral health expert and she has a passion for the practice that unclogs our tastebuds and improves our oral health.
She explains: ‘The surface of the tongue is covered with millions of nodules called papillae give it its rough texture. Between the papillae, there are around 9,000 tastebuds – sweet, sour, bitter and salt – and bacteria and debris collects within the surface of the tongue to release gases that cause bad breath and can, in turn, affect teeth and gums.
‘Poor oral hygiene is the number one cause of bad breath and, although brushing and flossing loosens and moves around debris, they do not actually remove the bacteria.’
The tongue’s coatings can range in colour –anything from clear or white to yellow or green – and a coated tongue can be caused by smoking, dry mouth, poor oral hygiene or medication use.
If left, these yucky coatings may impact on our overall wellbeing.
And, by the way, it doesn’t matter what you use but you do need to start from the back of the tongue and work forward, scraping and cleaning the entire top surface as well as the sides of the tongue.
So, to ensure a fresher, cleaner mouth and keep bad breath at bay, brush regularly, drink two litres of water daily, use interdental brushes or floss and see your hygienist regularly.
Plus, here are four reasons why you also need to factor in tongue cleaning to your oral health regime:
1. It promotes good oral health. Cleaning your tongue stimulates saliva that helps remove bacteria and toxins responsible for gum problems, plaque build-up, tooth decay, tooth loss, gum disease and recession
2. It prevents halitosis. Bad breath can have a terrible impact on self-esteem as well as relationships. Tongue cleaning can reduces oral bacteria from the tongue
3. It boosts immunity. Cleaning the tongue prevents toxins being reabsorbed into the body and boosts overall immune function
4. It improves the ability to taste by removing mucus from the tastebuds.
Speak to Melonie Prebble for more dental advice