OHI: Tongue Cleaning

A tongue is the first part that has the highest level of bacteria in the mouth. However, few people take enough time in cleaning it. When the tongue is not cleaned in the proper way, there are many side effects which will result from this. To reduce tooth decay, bad breath and the unsightly tongue, it is important to clean the tongue in proper manner.

Brushing of the tongue can help reduce bad breath

Tooth brushing, tongue brushing, and flossing are necessary to help keep your mouth clean

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The tongue

The tongue has many parts and these parts are not smooth. All these crevices and bumps can harbor the bacteria. At least half of the bacteria in the mouth are found on the tongue. They can make a film at the tongue which will lead to many health problems.  The tongue has to be pink and if there is any discoloration, they should be noted and dealt with.  It is recommended to see a dental health professional if

  • There is a concern that there are changes that are taking place on the tongue
  • Tongue coating stays on for over two weeks
  • If there is a tongue pain that lasts for long
  • If there is desquamation or white area at the surface of a tongue

Why cleaning the tongue is important

Cleaning the tooth offers more than just fighting away the bad breath. It helps to break away the tissue at the tongue and this avoids having a hairy tongue. It also removes the bacteria which may contribute on the tooth decay. Poor oral hygiene had been linked to different health problems.

By cleaning the tongue, it will:

  • Control the unwanted bacteria which may contribute towards the tooth decay
  • It fights off the bad breath
  • It improves with the taste sense
  • It gives better aesthetics while laughing or smiling

Decide on which tool to use

There are many tools that can be used to clean the tongue. The scrapers are known to be most common. The tongue brush is just recent but there are tongue cleaners that have been at the market for long.

  • The researches had shown that tongue brushing and tongue scraping lead to the same results when it comes to reduce the plaque
  • There are some brushes with scraper which allows  both scarping and brushing

Know the material: there are different materials which are used as cleaning devices such as silicon, plastic and metal. Someone may prefer using one material over the other one

  • The stainless steel or copper may be used in scrappers. The scrapers can be put in the hot water to offer sterilization
  • Plastic scrapers are not that expensive but they do not last long. They require to be replaced regularly
  • Silicon edges can help in scraping the tongue in a comfortable way.

Anyone who wishes to improve with the quality of oral health, he should learn about scarping or brushing the tongue. In some case, like with the people who have bad breath, this is the only remedy needed.

Through scarping and scrubbing of the surface of the tongue, the bacteria that cause odor will not be available anymore. The tip of the tongue is self cleansing and there are not that much bacteria on it. The tongue is involved into many functions like speaking and swallowing. The friction done will lead to cleansing action and it prevents the buildup of debris and bacteria.

The back of a tongue does touch at the soft palate alone and the contact which happens is gentle. The tongue movement will not create enough movement that can clean the posterior area of the tongue which means that there will be build up of the bacteria which may cause bad breath. This is the reason why this area has to be cleaned regularly to deal with the bad breath.

Cleaning of the tongue

When it comes to cleaning the tongue, there are two options, it can be scraped or brushed. Regardless which method used the end result is still the same.

Cleaning where the coating takes place:

More effort should be used to clean the end portion of the tongue. This is because it is the place where more film that leads to bad breath takes place. There is no need to reach too far because what it is needed is cleaning top surface of a tongue. The tonsillar tissue found nearby should not be scraped or brushed.

  • It is important to be gentle while cleaning since cleaning roughly can cause bleeding and irritation. Doing this has to be avoided.
  • While cleaning the tongue, it is important to work more on the center region of a tongue and not at the edges since it is easy to make an injury in such area
  • For someone who does not have problems with odor, then it is good to clean the tongue at least once every day.
  • If there is a need to deal with odor, cleaning the tongue twice is recommended.

Tongue brushing instruction

To start with tongue brushing, there is no need to get a special tool to do it; a regular toothbrush can do the job.

  • The first step is to moisten the brush using tap water in order to soften up the bristles
  • Sticking of the tongue out to see if there is any film that had been formed and to see where to clean
  • Cleaning start at the back towards the front and using of the brush strokes on the tongue which break up the debris for scrub
  • It is important to use pressure but it should not be enough in irritating the tongue
  • Sticking the tongue out and to evaluate the results and then the person to continue brushing when needed
  • Rinsing of the mouth after cleaning the tongue.

Tongue scrapping instruction

To scrap the tongue, it requires the use of two items, the cleaner and the scraper

  • A scraper is inverted spoon but there are others that have been specially designed. The benefits of using a scrapper are that it gets rid of the gunk easily and a person is less likely to gag.
  • A cleaner is found between a brush and a scrapper. The cleaner has nubs and rubber bristles which help to reach into the furrows and grooves of the tongue. It features a blade part which cleans the surface of the tongue.

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