Want to know the right way to clean your tongue, and how often you should be doing it? Read on:
It’s not just your teeth and gums that need a good clean twice a day. Your tongue is equally as important because it can be carrying millions of microscopic bacteria at any given time. Tongue cleaning removes a portion of these bacteria, as well as decaying food debris, fungi and dead skin cells from the surface of the tongue. You have to keep in mind that the surface of the tongue is not smooth; there are crevices and elevations all over the tongue, and the bacteria will hide in these areas unless they are removed.
The buildup of these bacteria from not cleaning your tongue regularly can lead to some major dental issues. Bad breath is caused by the by-product of toxins from the bacteria in the back of your mouth! Not only that, but the buildup of these bacteria can also lead to a buildup of plaque around your teeth, which causes gum disease and tooth decay.
Those who have a ‘furrowed tongue’ (one with deep grooves, pictured below) may need to be extra vigilant in cleaning their tongue. Because of the deeper grooves, it is easier for bacteria to get trapped.
The best way to clean your tongue is to use either the back of a toothbrush with a tongue-scraper feature, or to buy a dedicated tongue scraper from your local pharmacy. There are many types of tongue cleaners, with the more common ones made from plastic or metal. Be careful not to use the cleaner too harshly (as you may damage your taste buds) and ensure that you use the cleaner towards the back of the tongue where the foul odour-causing bacteria like to hide.
Cleaning your tongue should become a part of your dental routine, and it should be performed at least once a day.
If you find that bad breath persists even after cleaning your tongue, there may be an underlying issue that needs addressing by one of our dentists.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, we encourage you to discuss these matters with an appropriately qualified health practitioner.