Are You Taking Care of Your Tongue?

You might be conscious when it comes to your teeth and gums and the routine for brushing and flossing, but is it the same with your tongue? Our tongue is a pretty awesome part of our mouth. It not only helps us chew our food, speakclearly, but it also plays an important role in our dental and overall health. If we fail to take care of our tongue, it can create some serious dental concerns. Read on to know more about the tongue.


A Little Background

Our tongue is home to over 10,000 taste buds and it is often the most exposed area to most bacteria and acid. Each tiny taste bud and all the other bumps (papillae) and dips we can feel and see on the tongue’s surface make a great place for both bacteria and acid to hide.


Why It Should Be Taken Care Of

The tongue is in constant contact with our teeth. If the tongue is not clean or worse, teeming with bacteria, all of the bacteria will be transferred right onto your teeth. When this happens, the chance for tooth decay greatly increases. If you have a clean tongue, it also leads to better-tasting meals. It is true that bad breath can be caused by many different things, but cleaning your tongue is one great way to help keep your breath smelling fresh. Remember that trapped germs on the tongue can lead to bad breath and it can also affect your sense of taste. Overgrowth of bacteria can turn your tongue white, yellow or even black.


How to Take Care of It

Each time you brush your teeth, spare a few extra seconds for brushing your tongue. Simply stick out your tongue and gently scrub it with your toothbrush. Try to reach right to the back of your tongue. If this triggers your gag reflex, don’t give up… the trick is to keep trying. Eventually, your gag reflex will ease up. If you really find it difficult and uncomfortable to brush your tongue, you are not alone. Many people will say this is true for them. An alternative cleaning solution would be with the help of a tongue scraper. This tool gently removes bacteria from the surface of the tongue and it is easier to use for those people who have sensitive gag reflexes. It even comes in various shapes and sizes. Make it a habit to clean your tongue thoroughly.


Special Cases

If a tongue has been neglected for a long time, it may be coated and crusty. Sometimes this is seen in people who have problems with physical dexterity or those who rely on others for their oral care, or are mouth breathers. People that   take certain medications that dry the mouth are more likely to have a coated tongue. If your tongue is too dry when you try to scrape it, you might be damaging the tissue. Try brushing instead after cleaning your teeth – this way, the mouth is still moist.


If you have any concerns with your tongue, gums and teeth, have your mouth checked to avoid more complex problems. Contact Dr. Marvin Lean and his team to book an appointment.




We are accepting new patients! Pickering Square Dental continues to grow and continues to accept new patients. If you are considering a new dentist for you and your family, we invite you to stop by to meet our team and take a tour of our office or to schedule an appointment.