Tongue Cleaning: Is it something we need to do?

Should we be scrubbing our tongues clean?

We focus so much on our teeth and making sure those are in tip-top shape, that often our tongues get overlooked. But is cleaning our tongue something that needs to be done?

Think about it, just like our teeth, everything that we eat and drink comes in contact with our tongue.

According to healthline.com John D. Kling, DDS, said: “Bacteria will accumulate greatly in the areas of the tongue between the taste buds and other tongue structures.”

Those areas on our tongues are mating grounds for bacteria! If we don’t take care of that it can lead to bad breath, higher bacteria growth, plaque build-up, potential loss of senses, and not taking care of our tongue can even end up damaging our teeth!

Of course, many of these things take a long time to develop and are worse case scenarios, but we still need to be aware! So while that might have been a tad dramatic, knowing these things help motivate us to establish a habit of good oral hygiene that includes scrubbing/brushing your tongue.

Now that we know that cleaning our tongue is necessary for our daily routine, we can dive into the question you are all asking; “How I do I clean my tongue?”

There are many ideas and suggestions out there, so we have gathered some of the more common ways to help you better take care of your mouth.

Brushing: Every morning and night when you are brushing your teeth take a few extra seconds and run those bristles across your tongue. Make sure you are cleaning all around, but still being careful! Our tongues are sensitive and have a layer of skin on them, so when brushing, you need to make sure you aren’t causing damage.

Tooth scraper: Much like a toothbrush, you can purchase a tooth scraper at your local drug/grocery store. Add this to your daily toothbrushing, and it will assist in the fight against bacteria and bad breath!

Mouthwash: Mouthwash is also an excellent cleaning method that can be effective when paired with brushing your teeth. Most mouthwashes have ingredients that target the bacteria in your mouth and on your tongue and leave your mouth feeling nice and fresh!

Lastly, if you want more options, or want to talk to someone not named Google to get more information; chat about it with your dentist the next time you are in for a visit! They will have lots of additional information and can offer suggestions for a more personalized routine to help you clean ALL parts of your mouth.

If you have not seen your dentist for your yearly check-up, call us at 801-747-8000 or submit an appointment request to schedule an appointment with your dentist.

We look forward to seeing you in our office soon! Happy brushing!

Are You Brushing Correctly?

On average, how long does it take you to brush your teeth? I admit there are times where my time is counted for that I do a quick brush which is bad. Did you know we should spend at least two minutes brushing our teeth? Two minutes! I know I can spend less than that and the average person usually falls short of the two minutes our teeth need to ensure they’re clean. Properly brushing your teeth is part of maintaining a good oral hygiene and promoting healthy dental care.

We need to use proper brushing techniques to remove the bacteria and plaque from our teeth including our tongue! There are four areas we should be focused on cleaning when it comes to our teeth and mouth:

  1. The outer surfaces of your upper teeth and lower teeth
  2. The inner surfaces of your upper teeth and lower teeth
  3. The chewing surfaces
  4. The tongue

These areas should be our primary focus when we brush our teeth along with how we clean them. As a general rule, to properly brush our teeth we have to be gentle! Try not to press so hard on your teeth; they are sensitive need to be handled with care. In addition to brushing gently, our strokes should be short, and our attention should be given to our gum line, the back teeth and the areas where dental work has already been done such as fillings and crowns. As for ways to brush our teeth, there are four commonly known techniques designed for manual toothbrush use.

Horizontal Reciprocating Motion:

Probably the most used technique to brush our teeth. The toothbrush is placed on either the left or right side of teeth then moved back and forth along the side. This motion follows from the back and front region of the teeth which can be harsh against our teeth and gums. In the long run, this technique can damage our teeth making us prone to sensitivity and risk of stripping tooth’s enamel. It is also not as effective in cleaning since we miss the spaces in between our teeth.

Vibratory Motion:

This technique reminds me of how our phones vibrate when they’re set on the table or a flat surface. There is a constant small movement to our phone which primarily occurs when we apply this vibratory motion to our teeth. It is small, continuous movements along our teeth covering the entire surface in a rapidly to and forth motion.  

Bass Method:

It’s the most efficient way of cleaning our teeth. The bristles of the toothbrush are placed at a 45-degree angle to the surface of the tooth as we press gently to have the bristles enter the gumline. We vibrate the brush back and forth for about 10-15 strokes over the entire tooth before moving on to the next. 10-15 strokes per tooth is a long time not to mention time-consuming which makes this technique the longest.

Stillman Technique:

The stillman follows the same angle of the bass method with the only difference of the position of the bristles. The bristles for this technique are placed with half of them on the gums and the other half on the tooth surface. The short and light horizontal movements help remove plaque and stimulate the gums.

Another brushing method we can use is the circular brushing motion. Again the bristles are placed at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line then lightly make small circular strokes until the all the surfaces of the tooth is covered. Whichever method we choose to approach when brushing our teeth, we should make sure we’re reaching all surfaces of the teeth including the chewing surfaces, gum, and tongue.

We should make sure we wiggle our toothbrush to allow the bristles to cover each tooth and find their way in between our teeth. Gentle strokes help us from damaging our teeth, gums or any tissue while ensuring we remove all food particles and plaque with every brush. We should aim for the two-minute mark and brush our teeth twice a day for healthy teeth and a beautiful smile! Let us know what method worked for you and if you saw an improvement in the comments below. Happy brushing!