Did you know that there are as much bacteria on your tongue than there are people on the planet? If you are not brushing your tongue with the same diligence that you brush your teeth every day, it’s hard to claim a clean mouth. In fact, not brushing your tongue can leave bacteria and acids in your mouth that cause tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. Don’t miss this simple and quick action step in your oral hygiene routine.

Why Bacteria Loves Your Tongue

While you may consider your tongue as a tool to help you speak and taste. Oral bacteria considers your tongue the perfect place to live, feed and breed. Why does bacteria find your tongue to be an ideal home? Your tongue is moist and dark with plenty of tiny grooves for bacteria to nestle in. Plus, your tongue often harbors some sugars and acids left behind from your meals and snacks. When bacteria in your mouth meets sugars, the results can be detrimental for your oral health.

Bacteria lives off of the sugars it finds in your mouth, which are easily available on your tongue if you are not brushing it on a regular basis. When bacteria feeds on sugars, it produces harmful (and stinky) oral acids that cause cavities, bad breath and periodontal disease. Like any other living thing, when bacteria has food, it will continue to breed and grow – making matters worse for your oral environment.

Proper Tongue Brushing

Even if your teeth were cleaned perfectly, the bacteria left on your tongue will eventually get transferred back to your teeth. It may only take a few hours after you brush and your teeth are covered with harmful bacteria again. Keep in mind that breath mints and breath spray on your tongue may temporarily freshen your mouth odor, but it is only masking the bacteria and acids that may still be present. A good tongue brushing is the best weapon against halitosis.

At West Hill Family Dental, we value the opportunity to educate patients about the importance of tongue brushing, which should always include cleaning all surfaces of your tongue. If you prefer, you can purchase a tongue scraper, or a tool that is specially-designed to effectively clean your tongue after you brush. Don’t forget to rinse those loose particles and bacteria with water after you’re done, so that they don’t transfer back to your pearly whites.