Dental Health
May 31, 2016

Many parents and caretakers expressed appreciation for last week’s article on the so-called blue bubble. You are welcome. This week I will address the often forgotten tongue cleaning. This can be carried out with a normal toothbrush, but preferably with a tongue scraper, especially in the case of large deposits. This should be gently cleaned to prevent soft tissue damage. It is best to clean as far backward as possible, because the back part of the tongue has the maximum bacterial deposits, which form a coating with mucous. Tongue cleaning should be repeated until almost no coating material can be removed. The gag reflex can occur, especially if toothbrushes are used; practice helps to prevent this. It can also be helpful to pull the tongue out with a gauze pad. Tongue cleaning has the additional advantage of improving taste sensation. Tongue cleaning is very essential for smokers and mouth breathers.{{more}}

Tongue cleaning:-

With toothbrush –

If a toothbrush is being used, then apply light pressure on the tongue with a clean toothbrush. Remember the back of the tongue should be cleaned properly, because it is where you can find the most deposits. Again, initially there can be gag reflex, but this gets better with practice.

With tongue scraper –

Tongue scrapers are available in pharmacies. They are very effective in cleaning the tongue. Keep it as far back as possible on the tongue, because that is the area where the bad breath producing bacteria and the food particles get deposited. Drag the scraper from back to front, putting on light pressure. Repeat this till the tongue is clean. The design of the scraper allows it to clean the tongue effectively.

Using dental floss –

To clean your tongue with dental floss, take a good length of floss (about a foot) and wrap each end around your middle fingers. Apply downward pressure with your index fingers, stick out your tongue, and drag the floss from the back of the tongue to the front several times. It is advised that you keep the water running so that you can rinse off the floss in between scrapings.

Advantages of tongue cleaning

1. Daily hygiene of the tongue is an important part of “total mouth care,” in addition to brushing and polishing.

2. It reduces the source of halitosis, that is, bad breath.

3. Reduces the root caries.

4. Reduces the risk of infection in periodontal openings, while decreasing the bacterial population.

5. Improves taste sensation, which stimulates interest in different types of food, especially in elders.

6. It improves confidence.

Side effects of tongue cleaning

1. Tongue cleaning may trigger gag reflex.

2. It can damage the taste buds present on the surface of the tongue, if it is done in an aggressive manner.

Dr Keith John

Email:[email protected]

Clinic: SVG Dental Corporation

Telephone: 784-456-2220

Cell: 784-526-0752