On the Tip of Your Tongue

Can cleaning your tongue improve your oral health? The American Dental Association says… maybe. Although they say there is no hard evidence that brushing and/or scraping your tongue will eliminate bad breath, they do suggest brushing the tongue in order to remove bacteria and help keep your breath fresher. If you’ve experienced success brushing your tongue, we recommend continuing the practice since the tongue can contain bacteria and food particles that become trapped under a thin layer of mucus.

How do I brush?

Whether you’re using a scraper or regular toothbrush, start brushing in the back of the tongue and working your way forward, ending with a good rinse of water. Use a toothbrush, tongue scraper or specialized brush that offers a built-in scraper to clean debris from the tongue.

Take a look

Since you’re sticking your tongue out, take a second to look for unusual coloring or patches. While white spots can simply be the result of worn-down taste buds, overall redness can be linked to B-12 deficiency or illnesses like strep throat. A bit of a whitish coat can signify anything from a simple case of dehydration to a yeast infection called thrush.

Problems with a gag reflex? Try stretching your tongue out straight and starting your cleaning process in the front of the tongue instead.