Although the American Dental Association (ADA) doesn’t list tongue brushing as a recommended practice for good oral hygiene, it does have practical benefits. Our tongues can quickly develop a buildup of foods and other residues that make our mouths feel dirty and create unpleasant odors. Even when this buildup is present, the bacteria in our mouth still protects us from infections and other undesirable oral health problems. This good bacteria has an unpleasant odor and this is more than likely what we are smelling. Tongue brushing or scraping will eliminate the smell without disarming the helpful bacteria in your mouth.
Tongue Cleaning Options
Dr. Ala Dean Attar of Attar Dental understands the benefits of keeping the tongue clear and free of buildup and is dedicated to educating patients on this process. Fortunately, you aren’t limited to tongue brushing when it comes to eliminating the excess buildup. You can also scrape your tongue and use mouthwash. Tongue scraping should be approached gently to avoid cutting your tongue. You can also use mouthwash. It should be noted that mouthwashes that aren’t therapeutic simply mask mouth odors while therapeutic mouthwashes actually eliminate bacteria and unpleasant odor. But if your efforts to remove the buildup are unsuccessful and your tongue is a strange color, see your dentist as soon as possible.
The Benefits of Good Bacteria
Although the bacteria in your mouth has an unpleasant smell it is part of your defense against infections and disease-causing pathogens. Instead, it helpfully breaks down the foods and other residues in your mouth. This is a helpful activity but it produces sulfur compounds in the process and these compounds don’t smell very good. This is how good bacteria helps maintain your oral health.
We all have bacteria that has made a home in our mouths and keeps us safe from disease and infection. However, we can still maintain a cleaner mouth and fresher breath. Through tongue brushing and scraping or the use of mouthwashes, we can still have cleaner mouths and fresher breath without wiping out the natural army in our mouth. Dr. Ala Dean Attar is your Libertyville, IL dentist of choice — if you have any questions about maintaining good oral health or about your tongue, call or click today!