Your teeth are not the only thing in your mouth that can collect food and bacteria. Your tongue can also accumulate various particles throughout the day, and brushing alone is usually not an adequate solution. Tongue brushes, also known as tongue scrapers or tongue cleaners, are simple tools used to clean the surface of the tongue. The type of tongue brush you use can play a direct role in how well you’re able to clean.
Cleaning Tools for the Tongue
Your mouth is a breeding ground for germs and millions of microscopic bacteria, and your tongue is no exception. Ideally, you should brush your tongue twice a day at the same time that you brush your teeth and floss. To get the job done right, there are three types of tongue cleaning tools you can use:
- A Tongue Scraper
- A Standard Toothbrush
- A Specifically-Designed Tongue Brush
While they only vary slightly, all types of tongue brushes aim to remove the buildup of bacteria, saliva, and food particles and must be cleaned and replaced along with your toothbrush.
Which Tool Is Best For Me?
Tongue scrapers can be found in both metal and plastic varieties. This device typically takes on a U-shape which fits the shape of the mouth to make it comfortable to use. To use a tongue scraper, simply place it at the back of the tongue and gently pull the scraper against the tongue towards the front of the mouth. Once you’re finished, rinse out your mouth and thoroughly clean your tongue scraper.
If you do not want to purchase another tool to clean your tongue, you can use your toothbrush or get a second toothbrush designated for tongue cleaning. Consider adding a small amount of toothpaste to the brush and use gentle strokes as you’re cleaning your tongue. You can also use a paste of salt, baking soda, and water. There are also special cleaning gels formulated for the tongue.
For an even better clean, consider investing in a tool specifically made for tongue cleaning. Tongue brushes are similar to standard toothbrushes as they are typically composed of a brush with a long handle. However, the bristles are often softer than with regular toothbrushes and may cover a larger surface. Just add a small amount of toothpaste to the brush and gently clean your tongue, starting from the back and moving forward to clean the entire surface. Metal scrapers designed to clean the tongue are also effective and highly hygienic tools when cleaning the mouth.
Benefits of Cleaning Your Tongue
Over time, food particles, dead cells, bacteria, and other debris can accumulate on your tongue. This can result in bad breath and a variety of other negative side effects. A tongue scraper or brush can help remove this buildup and offer the following benefits:
- Increased sense of taste: By using a tongue scraper twice per day, you can improve your sense of taste and enhance your ability to distinguish between salty, sweet, bitter, and sour.
- Less bacteria in the mouth: Removing the bacteria on your tongue can reduce the overall number of bacteria in the mouth. In turn, this can help decrease your risk of dental decay.
- Reduced bad breath: Certain bacteria on the tongue can cause unpleasant odors. By removing these bacteria with a tongue brush, you can maintain fresher-smelling breath.
- Improved appearance of tongue: When bacteria and other debris build up on the tongue, it can create a white coating. A tongue brush can help keep the tongue pink and healthy.
- Better overall health: Removing harmful bacteria from the mouth can aid in better health and wellbeing. Less bacteria reduces your risk of infection and can create an overall healthier mouth environment.
When to See Your Dentist in Clermont
It is important to understand that while tongue cleaning tools, like brushes and scrapers, can be highly effective in the daily maintenance of your tongue, they are not a solution to all tongue-related problems. If you suffer from certain conditions, such as dry mouth or “hairy tongue,” speak with our dentist in Clermont FL about your concerns. Special mouthwashes, more frequent cleanings, or other treatments may be more suitable.
To learn more about tongue brushes and the benefits of cleaning your tongue, reach out to your local dentist at the Clermont family dentistry practice, Hancock Village Dental, today.