4 Ways You Should Be Taking Care of Your Tongue
Sometimes it’s easy to overlook one very important part of your oral health care routine–taking care of your tongue! Your tongue helps you speak, chew, swallow, and taste. It has 10,000 taste buds, and each taste bud has 50 to 150 taste receptors that allow you to enjoy your food. Your tongue also holds a lot of the bacteria that live in your mouth.
Because of everything your tongue does for you, it is very important to take care of this complex muscular organ. Like your teeth and gums, your tongue requires some TLC in order to stay healthy. At Prescott Dentistry, we believe the health of your whole mouth, including your tongue, has an effect on your overall health. Here are our top tips for how to take care of your tongue.
Four Ways You Can Take Care of Your Tongue
1. Brush Your Tongue Regularly
Whenever you brush your teeth, it is important to remember to brush your tongue, too. Using a small amount of toothpaste on your toothbrush, gently brush from the back of the mouth toward the front, using a downward motion. This will help get rid of the odor-causing bacteria in your mouth and prevent bad breath. Be aware that using too much pressure could cause damage to your tongue, so always brush gently. Finish by rinsing with water or a warm saline solution to wash harmful bacteria off your tongue.
2. Use a Tongue Scraper to Clean Your Tongue
A tongue scraper helps you clean your tongue even more thoroughly than a toothbrush. This tool is made from a flexible, soft plastic. It allows you to lightly scrape away the layer of mucus and bacteria growing on your tongue. Be sure to wash the scraper thoroughly with warm water to remove the bacteria after you use it. Use gentle pressure when cleaning your tongue with a tongue scraper—it should not be painful to use!
3. Pay Attention to the Color of Your Tongue
The color of your tongue can tell you a lot about the health of your mouth and your body as a whole. Believe it or not, your tongue’s color can be an indicator of many different internal health problems. Here’s what you should know about different variations in tongue coloring:
- A healthy tongue should be light pink and might have a slight white coating.
- If your tongue has a thick white coating, this can indicate dehydration or even a fungal infection called thrush.
- A green tongue could be a result of fungal infection, bacteria overgrowth, or poor oral hygiene.
- A black tongue may occur if you are undergoing radiation treatment, if you use tobacco, or if you have poor oral hygiene.
- A pale tongue could point to a vitamin deficiency.
- A bright red tongue could indicate an infection, an allergic reaction, a vitamin deficiency, scarlet fever, or a blood or heart disorder.
If you notice any unusual color changes in your tongue, be sure to schedule an appointment with us or your primary care provider as soon as possible so it can be addressed.
4. Stay Hydrated and Drink Green Tea for Tongue Health
As you know, staying hydrated is important to the overall health of your entire body. But you’ll be glad to know that drinking water also helps to wash away the bacteria and food debris from your tongue and teeth. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day, especially after meals. Green tea has also been shown to eliminate the oral bacteria that cause odor and gum disease. Beyond cleansing your mouth of harmful bacteria, green tea has loads of other health benefits, so drink up!
Need a Dentist in Prescott? Call Us Today!
While it can be easy to forget about taking care of your tongue, daily care can freshen your breath, improve your sense of taste, help prevent gum disease and tooth decay, and improve your overall health. Of course, keeping up with your regular dental appointments here at Prescott Dentistry is also an integral part of your overall dental hygiene. Give us a call to schedule your next cleaning. We look forward to helping you keep your mouth healthy and beautiful!