How to Keep Your Tongue Healthy
Most people are aware of the importance of practicing proper oral health. After all, tooth decay, gum disease, and other such ailments are far from fun, and each can be a costly endeavor to contend with. By brushing and flossing on a regular basis, you can avoid these problems and walk around sporting the clean smile you deserve. But that’s not enough! If you’re serious about oral health, then you’re going to need to do one more thing to keep your mouth in good shape: You need to care for your tongue.
Dr. Joseph Pizzarello is a dentist at Pizzarello and Silvestro Family Dentistry, a practice that has been serving the Stoneham, Massachusetts area since 1995, and according to him, far too many people tend to neglect their tongues in favor of brushing their teeth. The fact of the matter is that the two need to go hand in hand in order to maintain proper oral health.
The tongue is a fairly tricky part of the body in that it works to trap unhealthy bacteria, thereby causing it to build up. Over time, this could cause a number of health issues, including the ever awkward halitosis, which is medical speak for “bad breath.” To avoid this and other such problems, it’s important to incorporate proper tongue care into your regular dental routine.
According to Dr. Pizzarello, the best way to care for your tongue is to purchase a tongue scraper and use it as necessary. A tongue scraper is a device used to clear bacteria from the surface of the tongue in order to keep it clean and healthy. A tongue scraper will cost you next to nothing; you can probably find one at your local neighborhood pharmacy or drugstore for about a dollar (which, incidentally, is less than the cost of the average toothbrush). By using it regularly, you can do your part to prevent bad breath and a host of unpleasant oral health issues.
How often do you need to scrape your tongue? According to Dr. Pizzarello, tongue scraping differs from brushing in that it doesn’t necessarily need to be done twice a day, every day. As a general rule, if you see debris on your tongue, then you ought to clean it accordingly. If you happen to notice a lot of gunk coming off when you scrape your tongue, then repeat the process daily until the buildup seems to diminish. Once you notice an improvement, you can scale back your tongue-scraping sessions to a couple of times each week; just don’t make the mistake of forgetting to tend to your tongue completely.
If the idea of using a tongue scraper sounds mildly (or extremely) unpleasant to you, then you’re not alone. However, Dr. Pizzarello likes to reassure his patients that this method of tongue cleaning is painless. And while brushing one’s tongue is better than doing nothing at all, a tongue scraper will generally do a much more thorough job than a toothbrush at ridding the tongue of unhealthy debris.
If you’re the type of person who’s serious about proper oral health, then you should know that brushing and flossing aren’t enough. By investing a little bit of money and your time in caring for your tongue, you can do your part to ensure that your whole mouth stays health.
*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.