Written by Pamela Snyder RDH

Do you want fresh breath? Do you want your food to taste good? Do you want your mouth to stay healthy? Please do not forget your tongue in your daily oral hygiene! The tongue is a major part of the mouth and requires regular care.

The tongue is a large muscle that helps with chewing and swallowing. It also helps push air from your lungs to your voice box ( larnyx) which has vocal cords that vibrate to make your voice. There are thousands of tiny little bumps called the papillae that cover our tongue which give it a rough texture these papillae are covered with thousands of taste buds. These taste buds can detect 4 common tastes-sweet, salty, sour and bitter, but because they are bumpy food and bacteria can get trapped in them.

If we neglect our tongue we would struggle to eat, breath,speak and swallow. Just like our teeth and gums, the tongue can also become unhealthy.

Over half of the bacteria in the mouth are present on the tongue. This can also contribute to other health issues, if not cared for. The bacteria on the tongue release volatile sulfur compounds which can contribute to halitosis ( bad breath). How do we keep our tongue as healthy as our teeth? Most people use their tooth brush to help keep their tongues clean. Using a tooth brush mostly just moves the bacteria around the tongue and does not really remove the bacteria. A tongue scraper is your best choice for tongue cleaning, it will remove 30% more bacteria than brushing or rinsing alone.

Next time you are at Dr. Jeannine Wykes office for your check up appointment ask about the best way to care for your tongue!!