Your dentist can actually tell a lot about the state of both your general and oral health by examining your tongue. A normal tongue should display a healthy tongue color and be free from signs of disease. In addition to the regular use of a tooth brush and dental floss, you should consider getting yourself a tongue scraper to improve the appearance and health of your tongue.
The Color of Your Tongue
Have you ever taken a close look at your tongue and noticed that it is no longer pink like it was when you were younger? The color of the tongue can take on a white hue. Things like bacteria, food debris, and dead cells can accumulate on your tongue in time. This can be a factor in developing bad breath; it can even negatively impact your general oral health.
The color of your tongue can be affected by certain medical conditions like dry mouth; however, it is typically due to poor oral hygiene.
What does a tongue scraper do?
A tongue scraper can remove the buildup of bacteria, food debris, and dead cells from your tongue, as well as:
- Enhance your sense of taste. Research indicates that using a tongue scraper twice a day can help you better distinguish between sweet, bitter, sour, and salty tastes.
- Improve your tongue's appearance. An accumulation of food debris can lead to your tongue taking on a white, coated appearance. Using a tongue scraper can remove this coat.
- Remove bacteria. A 2005 study found that the two main types of bacteria responsible for bad breath were significantly reduced by using a tongue scraper twice daily for one week.
My tongue is healthy and looks normal. How can I keep it that way?
In addition to regularly brushing and flossing at home, as well as keeping up with your routine dental exams and cleanings, the use of a tongue scraper is recommended.
Don't neglect diet and lifestyle and their effects on your tongue. Limit your consumption of alcohol and tobacco products, as well as sugary foods and beverages.
Prevent dry mouth by chewing gum containing xylitol. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, particularly after snacks and meals.
Effectiveness of Tongue Scrapers
We don't normally think of our tongues in this way, but any surface in the mouth can harbor bacteria, particularly when it goes uncleaned for a long period of time. The tongue is not actually a flat surface. Instead, it more closely resembles a towel. If you look closely at a towel, you will notice that it has small projections on it. The same goes for your tongue. It can provide a hiding place for bacteria.
Using a tongue scraper is up to 60 percent more effective at removing bacteria than brushing alone.
Thanks for your support!
- Dr. Houlik