Posted September 22, 2017
Americans only spend an average of 15 to 23 days during their lifetime brushing and flossing their teeth. But what about brushing the tongue? There are 700 different forms of bacteria living in the mouth. The unhealthy bacteria can settle into the small bumps on the tongue, called papillae, and create tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health problems. Here are five reasons you need to brush you tongue as provided by Women’s Health.
- Furry tongue – Coffee and foods can stain the tongue, making it look dark and furry. However, the discoloration can be removed by gently scrubbing your tongue with your toothbrush. After using your toothbrush, remember to thoroughly rinse it with water and stand it up so it can air-dry.
- Halitosis – Bacteria that settles on the back of your tongue can create a foul odor called halitosis or bad breath. After brushing your teeth, insert the toothbrush toward the back of the tongue and carefully brush the surface to remove nasty bacteria. If you start gagging, you may be brushing a little too far back. Using a non-alcohol antiseptic mouthwash also will help keep your breath fresh.
- Gum disease – Bacteria on the tongue can mix with food particles and create plaque on your teeth and gums. Daily brushing and flossing and regular dental cleanings can keep plaque from turning into decay. If not treated, decay can cause gum disease, also known as gingivitis. The gums can become red, inflamed and loose around teeth, creating space for harmful bacteria to form an infection, called periodontal disease.
- Oral yeast infection – If harmful bacteria is not removed from the tongue, naturally occurring yeast in the mouth can flourish and turn into oral thrush. The yeast can form a white film or blotchy patches on top of the tongue. Your dentist can prescribe an antifungal medication to kill the yeast, and brushing the tongue daily will help prevent its return.
- Bland taste buds – If bacteria on the tongue are not removed, it can create a film that covers the taste buds. The flavors of savory foods you normally enjoy will taste a little off until the taste buds are uncovered.