You use it to talk. You use it to taste. You use it to whistle “Dixie”. It’s your tongue, the strongest muscle in your body! And taking care of your tongue is vital to maintaining a healthy mouth and confident smile.
We all know the importance of brushing and flossing our teeth, but if you are ignoring your tongue, then you are leaving your teeth at risk. A clean and healthy tongue is essential for protecting your teeth and gums. At New Albany Implants, right here in Southern Indiana, we want to make sure our patients are aware of power of the tongue!
A Haven for Bacteria
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria, like the kind that forms around rotting bits of food. Brushing and flossing removes that bacteria and reduces the chances of tooth decay. But that same bacteria rests on your tongue, and it will eventually make its way to your teeth, once again putting them at risk for decay.
Brushing your tongue, along with your teeth, will make sure that you are removing the bacteria before it can cause more damage.
If you experience discomfort or gagging when brushing your tongue, try some of these tricks:
Brush your tongue from side-to-side instead of sticking your brush in longways, which can lead to choking and gagging, and if you are not careful, you could accidentally injure your throat.
Be sure to relax your tongue and throat. Also, try exhaling through your mouth while you brush. This can help weaken your gag reflex.
There are alternatives to brushing your tongue. For instance, you could use a length of dental floss to run over tongue and remove bacteria-causing food particles.
Hydrate Your Tongue
One of the great things about the tongue is that is it constantly bathed in saliva, which has its own bacteria fighting properties. This moisture, combined with your tongue’s near constant movement, means bacteria has a harder time sticking to your tongue. So you do not have to brush your tongue as vigorously as you do your teeth.
In order for your tongue to stay moist, you have to stay hydrated. So drink plenty of water!
Also, remember that when you remove the bacteria from your tongue, it will often end up on your teeth. Drinking water will wash that bacteria away, keeping both your tongue and teeth healthy and clean.
Although fresh breath is not always directly related to tooth health, bad breath may affect your self-confidence in social situations and make you less likely to talk or smile. And what is the point of having beautiful teeth if no one sees them?
The same bacteria that threatens your teeth’s enamel can also cause bad breath. This is just one more reason that keeping your tongue clean is so important. Some people like to use tongue scrapers to clean their tongues. This will likely help treat bad breath, but it may not do enough to protect your teeth from decay.
So keep brushing!
And don’t forget to drink lots of water!
New Albany Implants is dedicated to protecting teeth in Southern Indiana, so contact us now for more information on how to your teeth strong and smiles bright!