You brush your teeth twice a day, floss and even use mouthwash, but do you brush your tongue? Your eyebrows may have risen at that question. Who brushes their tongue and is it really that important? Here's a look at why you need to start brushing your tongue—most toothbrushes will have a ridged part on the back for this—to improve your oral health.
The Cause of Bad Breath
A buildup of bacteria is one of the main causes of bad breath. This is often due to the tongue, rather than other parts of the mouth. You'll forget that bacteria can get into the tongue and cause problems from there.
Not sure any of this is true? Think about the color your tongue turns when you eat or drink. It can turn red, brown and even blue! Your tongue is collecting some of the elements from your food and drink, and this creates a prime space for bacteria.
At Risk of Gum Disease
Again, this is all due to the buildup of bacteria. The tongue is full of dips and crevices for the bacteria to hide. Mouthwash isn't enough to get rid of it, and in some cases, can make it worse. Gum disease is a major problem when bacteria build up, and this can lead to many other health problems.
Your dentist will tell you if you have the first signs of gum disease. There is no way to repair the damage, but you can help to limit it getting worse. If gum disease is allowed to continue, you run the risk of losing your teeth and can develop heart disease. Brushing your tongue will help to limit the bacteria in your mouth that makes gum disease worse.
High Risk of Tooth Decay
Another problem is that you run the risk of developing tooth decay. As well as bacteria, food can hide in the crevices in the tongue, and this can lead to more plaque on the teeth. The enamel is worn away and holes in your teeth form.
Tooth decay will mean your teeth need to be filled. However, there is also the risk of other problems, including tooth loss and damage to the roots of the teeth, meaning root canals are needed instead.
The best thing you can do is look after your oral health, and that includes brushing your tongue. You will get rid of the bacteria and prevent problems like tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. Contact a dentist like David Jackson, DDS to learn more about this.