Patients often overlook one very important element of their oral health care regimen: taking care of their tongue! Your tongue is so important. It helps you speak, chew, swallow, and—with its over 10,000 taste buds—it allows you to enjoy the taste of your food. Your tongue is also home to a majority of the bacteria that lives in your mouth. That’s why it is so important to ensure you’re always taking extra care of it. Here are six things you should be doing daily to ensure your tongue is clean and healthy.
1. Brush your tongue regularly.
Each time you brush your teeth, it is important to remember to brush your tongue as well. Start by applying a small dab of toothpaste to your toothbrush. Then, brush from the back of the mouth toward the opening with a downward motion. This will allow you to expel the odor-causing bacteria from your mouth. Make sure to only use gentle pressure during this process so as not to damage your tongue. Then, simply rinse with water!
2. Try a tongue scraper.
You can even more thoroughly clean your tongue by using a tongue scraper. This tool is made from a flexible, soft plastic that allows you to lightly scrape away the mucus layer that resides on your tongue, particularly in the center of the tongue. After each swipe of your tongue, simply wash the scraper under warm water to remove the bacteria. If you find that this causes your tongue to feel sore, you could be scraping it too hard. Make sure you’re cleaning slowly with light pressure.
3. Rinse well.
Each time you clean your tongue, make sure you thoroughly rinse out your mouth with water. This will help you to be rid of the bacteria that reside there. You might also consider using a warm saline solution—made by simply mixing water and a teaspoon of salt—to keep your tongue relatively clear of harmful bacteria.
4. Drink green tea.
Drinking green tea is a great way to help keep your tongue clean. Doing so greatly reduces the bacteria in your mouth. Therefore, drinking green tea helps to kill off odor-causing bacteria that can linger on the tongue.
5. Monitor the color of your tongue.
It is important to check in on the color of your tongue from time to time, as this can be used to examine the state of your health. A healthy tongue is meant to be light pink and can have a slight white coating. However, a definitively white tongue can be indicative of dehydration and even a fungal infection. If your tongue is pale, it could mean that you have a vitamin deficiency. If your tongue is bright red, on the other hand, it could be a warning sign for an infection or even a heart or blood disorder. Therefore, if you notice any abnormal coloring to your tongue, be sure to have a medical professional take a look.
6. Drink plenty of water.
Staying hydrated is important to the overall health and functionality of your entire body. Drinking water also helps to wash away the bacteria and food debris from your tongue and teeth. Therefore, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water to stay in good health.