Having a healthy tongue is just as important as maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
Tongues play a crucial role in your oral function. Without your tongue it would be essentially impossible to speak, eat, and taste all your favorite foods! Taking care of your tongue is just as important as maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
Your tongue is a key health indicator. A healthy tongue is typically pink and has small nodules on the top and bottom, called papillae. Changes to the color and feel of the tongue can indicate a variety of health issues from vitamin deficiencies to oral cancer. An exam with your dentist can help identify and diagnose any potential problems.
Signs of an Unhealthy Tongue:
- White patches on the tongue
- Red tongue
- Yellow tongue
- Black hairy tongue
- Sore and bumpy tongue
Maintaining a Healthy Tongue
Your tongue is home to the majority of the bacteria that live in your mouth. Just like your teeth, you should clean your tongue daily. It is a good practice to clean your tongue after every time you brush your teeth. Use a small amount of toothpaste and brush in a downward motion starting at the back of the tongue. This will remove harmful bacteria from your mouth and prevent bad breath. Rinse your mouth out with water or mouthwash after your tongue is clean.
You can additionally use a tongue scraper for a deeper clean. This flexible, plastic tool allows you to scrape away the bacteria on your tongue. Scrape with light pressure and wash the tongue scraper after each scrape to avoid putting bacteria back in your mouth. If your tongue is sore after using a tongue scraper, you may be scraping too hard.
Benefits of a Clean Tongue:
- Lower number of harmful bacteria in the mouth
- Prevent bad breath
- Reduced plaque
- Improved sense of taste
- Fresh feeling mouth
Staying hydrated is also vital to maintaining a healthy tongue. Bacteria and food debris on the tongue and teeth can be washed away by drinking water regularly.
Maintaining a healthy diet is beneficial for both your tongue and body. Since The tongue is a muscle, it needs a diet rich in vitamins and minerals to thrive. Consuming iron-rich foods is extremely beneficial for your tongue. Eating foods with antimicrobial properties can additionally help fight against oral bacteria.
Your mouth is a delicate ecosystem that works together to keep you healthy. Good oral hygiene consists of taking care of your teeth, gums, and tongue. Keep your tongue clean and healthy and it will help take care of you!
Tongue Healthy Foods:
- Red meat
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Chopped onions
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