If you’re already in the habit of brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing at least once per day, and rinsing with mouthwash, you’re doing a great job managing your oral health! But, are you taking the extra step of brushing your tongue as well?

Brushing your tongue is an important part of an effective oral care routine, and should be taken care of whenever you brush your teeth.

What is Tongue Coating

Just like on your teeth and gums, your tongue can be a host for bacteria. The bacteria living on your tongue isn’t easily rinsed away by water or mouthwash, as the bacteria can often live in the grooves of your tongue. If left untreated, this can lead to a white, film-like substance forming on your tongue, often referred to as “tongue coating” or “white tongue.”

This bacteria has a number of adverse effects on your oral health, such as:

  • Bad breath
  • Decreased sense of taste
  • Bacteria spreading to other parts of your mouth, leading to tooth decay and gum disease
  • Tongue discoloration

Generally, a coated tongue on its own is harmless. However, if accompanied by other symptoms such as cracking or bleeding, pain, or itching, you should seek medical attention.

Benefits of Tongue Brushing

The benefits of tongue brushing include:

  • Reduced risk of bad breath
  • Reduced likelihood of developing periodontal disease
  • Improved sense of taste
  • Reduced likelihood of developing oral thrush

How to Properly Brush Your Tongue

Make sure to brush your tongue whenever you brush your teeth. Some toothbrushes come with a special tongue and cheek scraper that can be used for this purpose, but you can also use the bristles of your toothbrush like you do for cleaning your teeth.

Brush carefully, both up and down and side-to-side. Do not brush too aggressively or for too long or you may cause damage to your taste buds.

Complete Oral Health Care in Arlington, VA

CNS Dental is a family dentist providing comprehensive dental care in Arlington, VA. If you’re looking for a friendly, welcoming office to get your next twice-annual cleaning or have an oral health concern you’d like addressed, make an appointment with us today!