If you consider brushing your teeth to be sufficient for maintaining dental health, then it’s about time you were proven otherwise. Your mouth is a myriad bacteria and microorganisms reservoir and if any portion of it is left untreated, it can damage your entire oral health.
The tongue representss an essential part of your mouth and ought to be washed daily, exactly like your teeth. Continue reading to find out what transpires if you do not take proper care of your tongue on a regular basis.
Tongue – a breeding ground for bacteria
Your tongue is not smooth and has many elevations and crevices on its surface, which makes it a favorite hangout for bacteria. You have to physically scrape them off to keep your tongue healthy and clean.
Not cleaning tongue properly can give rise to bad breath. The bacteria accumulate with time and eventually start emitting a foul smell that can be a cause of disgust for others (around you) and embarrassment for you.
Dark hairy tongue
Sounds scary, isn’t it? Well, this condition is a direct result of not cleaning your tongue. The particles from leftover food and strong drinks stain the papillae of your tongue, rendering it dark and furry. And you wouldn’t want it, do you? Cleaning your tongue regularly can aid in getting rid of this unpleasant condition.
Dull taste buds
If left unattended, your tongue begins to develop a coating of food particles, bacteria, and dead skin cells, called biofilm. This renders our taste buds less sharp and devoid you of enjoying the real taste of edible items.
Known as oral thrush in the medical world, this condition arises when the bacteria level in your mouth get whacky (because you have been ignoring your tongue all the while) and the naturally occurring yeast decides to make its presence felt strongly. This causes white patches on your tongue but can be cured with an antifungal medication.
The bacteria getting accumulated on your tongue can any day spread to your teeth, which can cause teeth and gum problems like gingivitis and inflamed gums respectively. If left untreated, the inflammation can take the shape of periodontal disease. Your teeth may eventually start falling out and in the worst case scenario, chronic inflammation may increase your chances of heart attack, miscarriage, and even stroke, says Barbara L. McClatchie, D.D.S, owner of Complete Health Dentistry in Columbus, Ohio and founding member of the American Academy of Oral Systemic Health.
Is rinsing enough?
Now that you know that not cleaning your tongue can cause some serious oral problems and prove to be fatal in worse cases, it is time you start caring for your tongue.
Some of you may have been using a good mouthwash or rinsing your mouth thoroughly assuming it is a good enough way to keep the entire mouth clean, including your tongue. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough! Rinsing will only wash away or destroy the outer cells of the biofilm (film of microorganisms) but the cells below the surface continue to thrive.
How to clean your tongue properly?
After you are done brushing your teeth, focus on cleaning your tongue. Brush back and forth, side to side, and finally rinse your mouth well. However, do not over brush your tongue as it may break the skin.
You can also use a tongue scraper if you aren’t comfortable brushing that soft area with your toothbrush.