Your tongue is a natural gathering place for the bacteria that lives in your mouth. Some of this bacteria is actually good for you as it helps to moderate the effects of the harmful type. Good bacteria works to break down the foods that we eat so that they are easier to digest. Harmful bacteria on the other hand contributes to the growth of the plaque that causes tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath.
One of the goals of maintaining good oral health is to get rid of the bad bacteria and encourage the good. Probiotic dairy foods such as yogurt and dark chocolate can promote the development of the bacteria that is important for a healthy digestive system. Starchy foods or processed foods that contain added sugar will feed harmful bacteria. The flavor enhancers used in processed foods can discourage your taste buds from reacting to the savor of healthier, more natural foods.
Because the surface of your tongue is so textured it is easy for bacteria to collect there and hang on. Brushing gets rid of the bacteria concentrated on your teeth but if you neglect to clean your tongue as well the bacteria there will quickly move onto your freshly cleaned teeth.
You can use your toothbrush but there are products that are made specifically for the purpose of cleaning your tongue. A toothbrush is designed to remove plaque from the hard coating of enamel on your teeth. A metal tongue cleaner however, may be more appropriate to the soft tissue of your tongue. If you do use a toothbrush be sure the bristles are soft and always brush toward the front of your mouth. You may want to rinse with a mild mouthwash after brushing to leave your whole mouth feeling fresh and clean. Try to brush or clean your tongue every morning before breakfast.
Brushing, flossing and keeping your breath fresh and clean between visits to your dentist and hygienist is an important part of a dental health regimen. Don’t forget to schedule your next appointment with Kendra L Patterson, DMD. Call the office @ 303-722-9504 today.