We all brush our teeth as we are taught to do so since early childhood. Many add flossing to their dental routine. But there is another big part of oral hygiene quite a few people overlook.
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Your tongue holds on to food residue and becomes a breeding ground for plaque and millions of bacteria. Debris from your breakfast, lunch and dinner builds up on it throughout the day and can affect your teeth, undermining the whole purpose of diligent brushing.
Bacteria also produce volatile sulfur compounds - a culprit in developing bad breath.
Dentists recommend cleaning your tongue twice daily.
Removing food debris from it before bedtime can also help reduce unpleasant smell in the morning and get rid of it when you wake up.
Here are some tongue-brushing techniques you can use for a healthier mouth.
Meanwhile, check out what the shape of your tongue says about your personality.
Also, here is why brushing your teeth in the shower is not a good idea.
Clean your tongue with a toothbrush
Using a toothbrush is the easiest way to clean your tongue.
Put a small amount of toothpaste on your toothbrush. Start at the back of your tongue and brush your way forward. Use gentle but firm pressure in back-and-forth motions, just like brushing your teeth.
Use a mouth rinse to get rid of the residue in your mouth. Thoroughly wash your toothbrush with water following the process.
Check your tongue out in the mirror as it should be plaque-free and a healthier pink colour after cleaning.
Keep in mind that some toothbrushes even come with tongue cleaners on the opposite side of the bristles, apply the same technique to use them.
Clean your tongue with a tongue scraper
You can use a tongue scraper either before or after you brush your teeth.
As your tongue is sensitive, be gentle and don’t put too much pressure on the cleaner to avoid cuts and ruptures.
Place the scraper on the back of your tongue and continuously pull it towards the front of the tongue. Move the scraper tool across your tongue from multiple angles to ensure you reach all of the hidden bacteria.
Remove the excess food or debris from your tongue by rinsing it all with water or mouthwash. Don’t forget to wash the scraper.
Check your tongue out in the mirror to make sure the plaque is gone. If you notice a white or yellowish discolouration, repeat the process.
- Dr Emma Wu & Associates: 'How to Properly Clean Your Tongue'
- Colgate: 'How to Clean Your Tongue to Avoid Bad Breath'