It may surprise you to know that brushing or cleaning the tongue is not a new concept. Ancient tools have been discovered in India, Arabia, Africa, and a few other locations that suggest people used to clean their tongues. This is a little surprising to most people since it’s not something that dentists or hygienists tend to put a lot of focus on these days. Obviously there are environmental and medicinal changes that give us different circumstances than ancient cultures had, but the facts behind it demonstrate that it’s actually important for the overall health of your mouth.
To give you a little background on why you may want to clean your tongue daily, 80-90% of bacteria in your mouth is sitting on your tongue. This number is extremely high. A way to tell if you have a large amount of bacteria is to look at your tongue in a mirror. A healthy tongue is just pink. If you look at your tongue and see a layer of white film, that’s a sign of bacteria. While you sleep, your body is working to detoxify itself. Some of these toxins show on your tongue. Not only does this give you bad breath, but these bacteria also spread to the teeth and gums which can then lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
There are many different tools out there designed to clean your tongue in the most effective way. If you skeptical about buying one of them, or know that you wouldn’t be committed to adding another step to your oral hygiene routine, you can always use your toothbrush. Toothbrushes are not designed to scrub the tongue thoroughly, but between a brush and nothing at all, the toothbrush is the better option. Depending on the severity of your tongue coating, you may also want to try an oxygenating toothpaste. This will help kill the anaerobic bacteria. (anaerobic just means that they survive best without oxygen).
Tongue cleaning is one preventative task to add to your routine because the pros definitely outweigh the cons. You’ll have fresher breath, you could have heightened taste senses, a healthy pink tongue instead of a less attractive white tongue, you’re less likely to swallow the toxins your body works to get rid of, you could have better dental/oral health, and many other reasons. It will only take you an extra minute or two in the morning while you’re already brushing your teeth. Seriously! There’s no reason not to adopt this habit.