What Happens When You Don't Brush Your Tongue?

What Happens When You Don't Brush Your Tongue?

June 1, 2023

Many people understand the importance of brushing and flossing regularly to prevent cavities. While often neglected, your tongue plays a major role in oral function, and you should clean it regularly.

Poor tongue hygiene can lead to several consequences that can harm oral and overall health. This article discusses how bacteria buildup can harm your mouth, why your tongue can turn white, and how to incorporate proper tongue-cleaning habits into your oral hygiene routine.

How Bacteria Buildup Can Harm Your Mouth

Your mouth naturally has millions of bad and good bacteria. These bacteria overgrow and multiply when you don’t clean your mouth well. They can mix with saliva and other debris to form a clear, sticky biofilm known as plaque that accumulates on your teeth, tongue, and gum line. If not cleaned promptly, plaque hardens to tartar, a bacterial deposit that’s very stubborn to clean and might require professional cleaning.

Over time, these bacterial plaque and tartar release chemicals that can:

  • Irritate and infect the gums to cause gum disease
  • Cause a foul breath or taste
  • Inflames the tongue to cause pain or yeast infection
  • Erode the teeth’ enamel to cause tooth sensitivity and decay

Regular brushing and flossing and routine dental checkups and cleanings can help minimize the amount of plaque and tartar buildup in the mouth, lowering your risk of these complications. Seek prompt treatment for decay and gum disease near you.

What Causes Your Tongue To Turn White?

Many factors, like smoking, burns, certain medical conditions, and dry mouth, can cause a white coating on your tongue. However, if the coating is thick and covers a significant portion of the tongue, it’s most likely caused by bacterial buildup. While the coating might not cause any symptoms initially, it can when left uncleaned for longer periods. Therefore, cleaning or seeking dental care is essential to address the issues and prevent future complications.

Incorporating Tongue Cleaning into Your Oral Hygiene Routine

Dental experts recommend cleaning your tongue at least twice daily when brushing your teeth for optimal oral health. Fortunately, cleaning your tongue is straightforward and only takes a few seconds. Below are some tips for cleaning your tongue:

  • Brush your tongue. You can use your normal toothbrush to clean the surface of your tongue. Ensure you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush gently to avoid irritating the tongue, which can cause discomfort, inflammation, and even bleeding. Pay attention to the back of the tongue, as it’s more susceptible to bacterial buildup.
  • Use a tongue scraper. Alternatively, you can invest in a tongue scraper designed to remove debris and bacterial deposits from the tongue. Gently scrape the tongue back and forth while rinsing the scraper between each pass.
  • Use mouthwash. After brushing your tongue, rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash to remove any remaining debris or bacteria and freshen your breath. Using mouthwash after meals can help reduce bacterial buildup in the mouth and lower your risk of infections.

Brushing or cleaning your teeth, gums, and tongue daily can help reduce bacterial buildup in the mouth, lowering your risk of total issues like gum disease, oral thrush, tooth decay, and bad breath. A healthy mouth maintains a functional and beautiful smile and promotes good overall well-being and quality of life.

Additional Tips for Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene and Health

In addition to regular brushing and flossing, below are additional tips for maintaining optimal oral health:

  • Eat a nutritious, balanced diet rich in essential minerals and vitamins like calcium, potassium, and vitamins C and D to promote healthy teeth, gums, and mouth.
  • Limit or avoid sugary items. Sugar can increase bacteria buildup in the mouth.
  • Consult your dentist about quality oral products.
  • Avoid tobacco products and alcohol abuse.
  • Always stay hydrated.
  • Schedule routine dental checkups and cleanings.
  • Seek prompt treatment for oral and health conditions.

Learn more about oral hygiene in Citrus Heights

For more details and tips on maintaining good oral hygiene and health, contact New Vision Dentistry to book your appointment with our dentist in Citrus Heights.

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