Did you know that your tongue helps you speak, eat, swallow and taste your food? We probably don’t think about the importance and function of our tongue in everyday life.
INTERESTING TONGUE FACTS
Of all the muscles in the human body, the tongue is the strongest for its size and the only one that is attached at one end. It is also the only muscle in the body that works without any support from the skeleton. The mouth typically has about 700 species of bacteria, the majority of which collect on the surface of the tongue. Our tongue goes to work quickly to ‘sweep’ after eating to try, check and remove any food that may be stuck around the teeth. An organ with such an important function deserves just as gentle cleaning. As we mentioned, the tongue is a muscle. It is covered with a moist coating known as mucosa and has millions of tiny projections called papillae. These papillae give the tongue its rough texture and some of these papillae contain taste buds that allow us to taste food and drinks. This rough surface can collect bits of food and, of course, millions of bacteria or microorganisms called flora. Just like your fingerprint, tongue flora is different for every person.
Cleaning your tongue can reduce the amount of bacteria on the tongue. Research suggests that tongue cleaning can improve oral freshness as well as gum and dental health. Investigations of patients with bad breath have found that it can originate from other parts of the body, including the lungs, nose, oral teeth and tongue. In the majority of patients, the complaint is reduced or completely resolved after scaling and professional tongue cleaning.
WHY IS TONGUE CLEANING IMPORTANT?
Cleaning the tongue is as important as brushing your teeth. However, it is neglected by many people and its necessity is not known. If the tongue is not cleaned regularly, it causes some health problems. Failure to clean the tongue causes the bacteria accumulated on the tongue not to be removed from the mouth and the bacteria multiply over time. As a result, these bacteria can spread to the teeth and cause serious problems such as inflammation of the gums, tooth loss and miscarriages during pregnancy. Lack of regular tongue cleaning can cause discoloration of the tongue. This is because food and drink particles accumulated on the tongue are not cleaned and cause stains on the tongue. Over time, this can cause the tongue to darken and look hairy, causing you to have aesthetic concerns.
THE BENEFITS OF TONGUE CLEANING ARE AS FOLLOWS:
Helps eliminate bacteria or other problems that cause bad breath. It prevents the gradual growth and spread of bacteria accumulated on the surface of the tongue. In this way, it prevents discomfort in the mouth and teeth. It also helps to protect general health by preventing the occurrence of some diseases. When tongue cleaning is done regularly, oral and dental hygiene can be fully ensured. In this way, you can have healthy and long-lasting teeth and fresh breath.
HOW TO CLEAN THE TONGUE?
If you like the feeling of cleaning your tongue or if you decide to clean your tongue, you should be very gentle because the tongue surface is very sensitive! Our toothbrush can be used for this task, provided it has a soft bristle, but other tools such as a tongue scraper can also be used. Start gently at the back of the tongue, pull or brush forward and use water to lubricate the process so that the brush does not irritate your tongue surface. Professionally, you should have your tongue cleaned by your dentist in a clinical setting with special vacuum devices at certain periods. Then, in addition to daily tooth brushing, you should do your tongue cleaning as described above.
BENEFITS OF VACUUM TONGUE CLEANING;
- Deep cleaning of the tongue by vacuuming the bacterial plaque formed on the tongue
- Removal of bacterial tongue plaque from the oral cavity
- Extraordinary feeling of freshness after treatment
- Reduced gag reflex compared to conventional methods
- Cleans without irritation or trauma to the tongue papillae as with tongue scrapers or rotary brushes
Finally, here are the basic tips to keep your whole mouth healthy:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride,
- Clean between your teeth daily with dental floss or interdental brushes,
- Drink plenty of water,
- Stop smoking,
- Limit sugary foods and drinks and
- See your dentist regularly for a general dental examination, scaling, professional tongue cleaning and personalized oral health advice. All of these tips are evidence-based and proven to be effective in maintaining optimal oral health!
Dr. Ceyda Kanlı Dursun – Periodontolog