Oral Hygiene, Prevention

Tongue Cleaning

22-06-2015 4-24-16 PM22-06-2015 4-43-47 PMWe weren’t quite sure why Miley Cyrus started sticking her tongue a few years ago, but we did some research. Apparently, she has been quoted as saying that she gets embarrassed to take pictures so she sticks her tongue out.

Well, we have seen a few of the photos with her tongue out and it appears that perhaps she should be taking a little more care of it. The look of her tongue may reveal that she has not been cleaning it daily, and perhaps, even has some health issues related to it’s colour and thick coating.

Some online articles are suggesting she ‘put it away’ because of it’s unsightliness. So, in the off chance that she may read our blog, we’d like to remind her of  some important:

‘Tongue Facts’

Tongue Scrapers – A plastic tool that is specifically designed for tongue cleaning is called a tongue scraper and can be readily purchased at your local pharmacy. Pay close attention to the product’s instructions.

Oral hygiene – Although is may seem strange at first try, your tongue should be cleansed daily, ideally in the morning, either gently with a toothbrush or with a plastic dental tool. It’s a very easy habit to get into, and will, no doubt, make a big difference in how fresh your mouth smells and feels and your susceptibility to tooth decay and gum disease. You do not need to clean your tongue more than once a day. Brushing or scraping it too hard can damage your tongue. If it begins to bleed or you develop tiny sores/cuts then you are cleaning it too firmly. Lighten up and give it a few days to heal before you try again.

Normal vs .Abnormal – The normal appearance of the tongue is pink in colour, slightly moist looking  and has a slightly rough texture. However, it is also normal for your tongue to have a thin, white and moist coating. If you are cleaning your tongue every day and paying attention to it’s colour and appearance  if any unfamiliar looking discolorations, bumps or sores will be immediately noticed. If they do not heal of their own in a matter of a few weeks then you should seek medical/dental attention immediately so it can be evaluated further.

Geography – The top surface of the tongue is made up of ridges, small raised areas and hair-like fibres that are taste receptors, but who’s shape can also trap tissue cells, food and bacteria. It’s a major source of bad breath and it’s appearance can change depending on what you may have eaten and it’s health and your body’s state of health.

Unhealthy tongue – – If you suspect that your tongue is developing is developing a health, see your dentist or physician right away. There are a number of very health conditions and/or disease of the tongue that require immediate attention including cancer and fungal infections.

Eat Yogurt – There are hundreds of different species of bacteria in your mouth. Some good, some bad.The good bacteria in the mouth have specific jobs and it is important to not overdo it with cleaning and the use of mouthwashes and antibiotics. Eating yogurt can help restore good bacteria to the mouth environment.

Toothbrush vs. Tongue Scraper

22-06-2015 4-43-47 PMYou may find some articles that state that you should only use a tongue scraper and not a toothbrush (since they are designed for the smooth surfaces of the teeth and not the rough, fissured surface of the tongue). We are of the mind, however, that if our patients find it is easier to just use the toothbrush that they have in their hands already rather than have to grab another device, then we are not here to complicate matters further. Perhaps when they have become more accustomed to this addition to their daily oral hygiene routine, they may want to look at purchasing a tongue scraper.

It may surprise you, but tongue cleaning is not something new. It has been around for centuries and is more common among other regions of the globe. We hope it continues to catches on here in North America because who doesn’t want Fresher Breath?


Yours in Better Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533

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