You know the importance of good oral hygiene, which is why you brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss regularly, and see your dentist at the earliest sign of trouble. However, while you are busy caring for your teeth and gums, chances are you are ignoring your tongue. Proper tongue care is critical to your overall oral health. Here are a few simple tips to help you properly care for your tongue.
Brush and Scrape Your Tongue
One of the simplest ways you can care for your tongue is to regularly brush and scrape your tongue. To brush your tongue, simply place a small amount of toothpaste on your regular toothbrush and brush off the top and sides of your tongue. Rinse your tongue well with water or mouth wash.
To use a tongue scraper, stick your tongue out and gently place the device on the back of your tongue. Slowly move the device forward while applying some slight pressure. Rinse the scraper off and use the scraper as many times as recommended by the scraper's manufacturer or your dentist. Your dentist will recommend how often to use the scraper and if you should use the scraper before or after brushing your teeth.
Drink Plenty of Water, Eat Well, and Quit Smoking
There are several lifestyle changes that can help improve the look, feel, and health of your tongue. Make sure to drink plenty of water and avoid soda and other beverages that contain sugar. There are certain foods that can also support your tongue's health, including red meat, leafy green vegetables, chicken, and seafood.
Finally, one of the biggest lifestyle changes you need to make to protect the health of your tongue is to stop smoking or using other tobacco products. In addition to damaging your teeth and gums, smoking can lead to a condition called smoker's tongue, which causes your tongue to turn black when the dyes and chemicals in cigarettes become trapped in your tongue.
Watch For Potential Signs of Trouble
One of the biggest signs of an issue with your tongue is when your tongue turns an unusual color. For example, if your tongue turns white and you cannot easily remove the white coloring, you could have a fungal infection. Additionally, if your tongue looks pale, you might be dehydrated. If you notice your tongue is turning a strange color, contact your dentist right away.
Caring for your tongue is an important part of your overall oral health. Contact a general dentistry professional with any additional questions.