• Dr. Sonal Naidu Addal

Tongue Cleaning: Is it a thing???!!

We always hear a lot of advises and suggestions over tooth brushing et al, but one of the neglected aspects of oral hygiene is tongue cleaning!

Did you know: It is estimated that approximately 85% of all Bad Breath (Halitosis) cases have their origin within the mouth; of these, 50% are caused by tongue residues.

Tongue is a soft organ made up 2000-4000 taste buds(because of which we know different tastes) and is attached to food pipe. It helps us articulate words and in phonics. It also helps to start digestion in mouth and also to swallow. A healthy tongue looks pale pink to pink in colour.

Let’s read what can be the repercussions of not cleaning tongue on a regular basis:

· First and foremost, if we don’t clean the tongue tiny winy food particles will keep accumulating between the thousands of taste buds and get decomposed there, which will further lead to foul smelling breath. In dental terminology we call it halitosis!

· Sometimes if not cleaned for long the tongue may develop blackish coat on it, which is called black hairy tongue. (imagine the food we eat goes through a pile of stuck food)

· A lot of coating in the tongue can also cause problem in tasting things and hamper taste buds from doing their action.

· Food deposits in the tongue can also become house of bacteria.

· Uncleaned tongue can also have yeast infection or candida infection.

Now Let’s discuss how and when should we clean the tongue :

· Tongue is cleaned either with a steel or brass or silicon tongue cleaner, using a very light pressure from back of the tongue towards tip of the tongue. NEVER OVER DO IT!

· Tongue should be cleaned twice daily after brushing.

· Tongue should also be cleaned when you feel it has some colour to it, while eating different food items, that’s an indication that food is lodged there.

A few points to ponder:

As we clean our tongue we also tend to observe it, so if you see black hairy tongue or white coat( yeast infection) or any un-healing ulcer, one must consult a dental professional immediately to avoid any further diseases.

So, in short we need to lightly clean our tongue at least twice daily to keep it healthy and also be very vigilant about it!

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