While a toothbrush is arguably the most popular oral health tool, there is another option that you may want to consider adding to your dental hygiene routine: the tongue cleaner. The tongue collects millions of bacteria, and simply brushing the teeth isn't going to remove them. Taking steps to ensure that your tongue is cleaned properly can go a long way in improving your oral health.
What are the Benefits of Using a Tongue Cleaner?
There are a variety of reasons that people might add the use of a tongue cleaner to their daily oral hygiene routine:
Improve your breath. Bad breath can affect your life in a variety of ways, including your self-esteem and your social life. Since most bad breath results from bacteria found on the back of the tongue, and this area is extremely difficult to access with a toothbrush, studies have shown that using a tongue scraper can be a great option for removing and reducing these foul odor-causing germs.
Give your immune system a boost. The tongue is one of the first defense mechanisms when it comes to your immune system, and keeping it clean can boost your immunity. By scraping your tongue, you'll prevent toxins from being reabsorbed by your body, and you'll also boost your overall immune function.
Experience better flavor. Taste and salivation are essential when it comes to proper digestion. If you fail to remove bacteria from your tongue, they could block your taste buds, leading to false cravings. You may also be unable to properly recognize or enjoy the full flavor of your food. By removing this buildup from the surface of your tongue, you'll better expose the taste buds and open up the pores of your tongue, allowing for greater enjoyment of flavors. Your body will also be better able to digest your food.
Improved digestive health. Many people believe that digesting the food properly is a staple when it comes to overall health. Digestion will begin with taste, so it is important to remove toxins that could obstruct this process from reaching optimal functioning. Scraping the tongue will also activate the production of saliva, which will further aid in proper digestion.
How Do You Use a Tongue Cleaner?
There are three major options for tongue cleaning devices: you can use a tongue scraper, you can scrape your tongue using a regular toothbrush, or you can use a special tongue brush. Tongue scrapers are generally the best way to clean the tongue, as traditional toothbrushes simply won't be able to effectively clean the rough surfaces of the tongue. These tools can be found at most department stores near the dental hygiene products, but if you can't find one, you can always ask your dentist for advice on where to access one.
You can use a tongue cleaner either before or after you brush - either way is completely fine. Start by rinsing the cleaner to make sure that any remaining food debris or bacteria are removed, and start cleaning from the back of your tongue working forward. Clean and scrape both the top and side surfaces rather than just concentrating on the center. Be sure that you are using the tool gently and aren't pushing down too hard, as the tongue is extremely sensitive. After you have finished scraping, you should rinse out your mouth to get rid of any excess debris.
Tongue cleaners are an affordable way to improve your oral health while leaving you with fresher breath. If you need additional guidance on how to get the most out of your dental hygiene routine, contact our office to set up an appointment.
Century Dental Dr. Jefferson Call, DMD & Dr. Dix Densley, DDS