You brush twice a day and floss daily, but are you missing an important step in your toothbrushing routine? Did you remember to brush your tongue? Many people may not realize this is an important step in your oral hygiene routine.

Why should you brush your tongue?

Your tongue is covered in bacteria. While your tongue can’t get a cavity it is still a spot that bacteria love. If you aren’t cleaning your tongue, then despite good brushing you will still have bad bacteria in your mouth which can increase your risk of cavities and cause bad breath. Your tongue is full of taste buds and other structures that can trap plaque and bacteria that will eventually lead to a film of bacteria on your tongue.

How do I get rid of this bacteria on my tongue?

Unfortunately, rinsing with mouthwash will not do the trick. In order to clean your tongue you will either need to brush it with your toothbrush, use a tongue scraper or use a toothbrush with a built-in scraper. All are good options. Here is a little more info:

  • Toothbrushes: You don’t require a fancy tool for cleaning your tongue. You can just brush your tongue by using a standard toothbrush, and by following short side-to-side and back-and-forth strokes. You can do this while brushing your teeth.
  • Specialized tongue scrapers: Specialized tongue scrapers are designed to remove bacteria by scraping the mucous layer on your tongue. You can buy them at any drugstore and are quite inexpensive.
  • Toothbrushes with built-in scrapers: Some toothbrushes already have in-built scrapers into the rear of the handle. You can first brush your tongue, and then scrape it to make sure it’s clean.

So, how do you brush your tongue?

  1. Brush back and forth
  2. Brush side to side
  3. Rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash

Note that you should be brushing your tongue every time you brush your teeth, this will keep bacteria and plaque down to a minimum and help prevent bad breath. It is important to note that there are other causes of bad breath (i.e. gum disease), so it is always important to talk with your dentist about your bad breath if brushing your tongue does not alleviate the problem.

Let’s Review … When Brushing Your Teeth, Please Remember

It’s been a minute since we’ve discussed brushing your teeth, so let’s hit the highlights of how you can improve your brushing:

  • Brush for 2 minutes 2 times per day
  • Floss daily
  • Replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head every 3-4 months
  • Don’t brush too hard
  • Remember to brush your tongue

Be sure to see your dentist every 6 months for your regular checkup and cleaning. Remember to discuss how you can improve your oral hygiene!

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Making a Difference with Oral Health

Oral health is our main goal and the main reason we wanted to chat about brushing your tongue! We’re here to help you overcome any oral health challenges you or your family may be experiencing. Please schedule a visit with us for your dental exam, cleaning and oral cancer screening, as well as dental treatment you may need.

Regular dental cleanings are important to ensure your preventative care routine is complete. Although you may be brushing and flossing your teeth AND brushing your tongue daily, tartar and plaque is impossible to remove with regular brushing and flossing, and can build-up over time.

Now that you know your options of brushing your tongue with a toothbrush, tongue scraper, or a toothbrush with a built-in tongue scraper, choose what works best for you and discuss your results and additional tips and tricks during your dental exam with Dr. Luff and her team.

Work with Dr. Luff and her team to find the most effective solution for your smile! We are always accepting new patients in the Lee’s Summit, MO and surrounding area who are ready to improve the health of their teeth, their confidence and smile! Please call Luff Dental at (816) 875-3391 to schedule your appointment.