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5 reasons why cleaning your tongue is important

29 July 2022by Shiv

The tongue holds paramount importance when it comes to maintaining good oral health. The significance of brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing in between the teeth is emphasised much, but the importance of cleaning the tongue is often bypassed. No matter how diligently you brush your teeth, you cannot get rid of bad breath unless your tongue is clean.

Cleaning your tongue by scraping or brushing can aid the removal of extra particles accumulated over it that are responsible for bad breath and poor oral hygiene. An unclean tongue harbours a large number of bacteria trapped in the protective biofilm that will give rise to a lot of dental issues including plaque and tartar buildup, or tooth decay.

Here are the 5 main benefits of cleaning your tongue:

  • Enhances your Gustation

Visitation or tasting sense makes you enjoy the numerous culinary items with delight. If there is a buildup of extra particles on your tongue, the taste buds present over it will not be able to pick up the taste of food with their full efficiency. In this way, the taste of some brilliant food items becomes compromised. As everyone wants to enjoy the best food, cleaning your tongue can help in boosting your taste buds. The scraping or brushing of the tongue will remove this layer, and then you will get an enhanced taste of whatever you eat. This is accomplished as the taste buds get better exposure and can make a distinction between various types of food such as sweet, salty, bitter, or sour more accurately.

  • Refine the appearance of your tongue

When a lot of debris is accumulated on your tongue, it forms a dirty looking white film over it. Such a coated tongue looks cosmetically unappealing. Scraping this film with the help of a good tongue cleaner will enhance the appearance of the tongue and boost your confidence. 

  • Reduces bacteria

Bacteria are the major culprits for plenty of dental issues such as dental plaque, bad breath, tooth decay, or gingivitis. Studies have shown that regular scraping of the tongue will reduce the multiplication of bacteria like Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacilli inside our oral cavity. These bacteria develop a biofilm around them which acts as a protective covering for them. Scraping this off is the only way to get rid of these bacteria.

  • Reduces halitosis or bad breath

Bad breath occurs due to reduced flow of saliva, leading to bacterial over accumulation and multiplication inside your oral cavity. If the tongue is not clean, it also contributes to the pool of bacteria and makes the oral health even worse. The biofilm keeps the bacteria intact, and regular mouthwash or mouth rinse cannot save you from bad breath. Scraping the tongue is a great way to clean your tongue and will effectively reduce bad breath.

  • Boosts your overall health

Bacteria are harmful not just in the oral cavity, but they can also spread to other parts of the body via systemic circulation. Thus, getting rid of the bacteria improves not only your oral health but also your overall health. In fact, oral health itself is a significant determinant of overall health.


How should you clean your tongue effectively?

The bacteria in your mouth are very tenacious, and mouthwash or mouth rinse with water will not be able to remove them. It will only flush off a few superficial cells outside the biofilm. The bacteria inside it will remain intact and unharmed. Scraping is the best and most accepted method to clean your tongue effectively. You should be very attentive and gentle while scraping your tongue as it is a delicate organ. Don’t scrape it too rough because there is a risk of injury or abrasion due to mishandling.

Choose a good tongue scraper of either metal or plastic which is readily available at the stores. However, if you are apprehensive about using a scraper, you can simply use the toothbrush to scrape your tongue. There are certain toothbrushes whose backside is specially designed with bumps and grooves for tongue cleaning. When you start scraping, start from as far behind as you can go. Then with a gentle stroke and sufficient pressure remove the layer smoothly. Repeat the process until you cover every part of the tongue. Keep rinsing your mouth with water so that you do not swallow the removed debris back.

If you are regularly cleaning your tongue, an antiseptic mouthwash can be used along with it to aid the process of getting rid of bacteria from the mouth.


How do you know if your tongue is not healthy?

A healthy tongue is a small muscular organ that is moist and usually pink in colour. If you notice any abnormality in this, it might be an indication of an unhealthy tongue.

  1. White of yellowish film over the tongue
  2. Small bumps or plaques
  3. Change in the appearance
  4. Pain in the tongue
  5. Bleeding from the tongue
  6. Foul odour

These are a few warning signs that require your attention towards your tongue.


How often should you clean your tongue?

You should clean your tongue at least once per day. Make it a part of your oral hygiene routine. Excessive scraping is also harmful as it will abrade your tongue and make matters even worse. So, scrape your tongue wisely, either in the morning or before going to bed. You can also clean your tongue twice a day, but more than that is not recommended. In addition, you should also drop by your dentist for routine checkups who can guide you in the process of cleaning the tongue.


If you need additional tips and ways to clean your tongue, an experienced High Wycombe Dentist at Conway House Dental Practice can help. Our Hygienists and dentists are well-trained in providing some of the best dental care services. You will get a warm and homely environment in our dental practice. So, don’t hesitate and make your oral health a priority. If you need any further assistance, reach out to us at 01494526578, and our staff would be happy to help!

We are a friendly team of dentists, hygienists and receptionists who work together to ensure that you receive the best treatment you require.

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