Wednesday, October 16, 2013

It's Not Just Your Teeth That Needs Cleaning!

World Dental Health Magazine published an article about the importance of the tongue, and why we should take care of this organ in our body.  

We have focused a lot on brushing and flossing, but do you recognize the fact that your tongue needs just as much attention in order to have a clean mouth?

Imagine your tongue like an organ which basically traps and collects bacteria. These bacteria produce acids which can damage your teeth and the tissues of your tongue. So brushing your teeth without cleaning your tongue is like performing 50% of the task…

According to different oral health studies, about 1/3 of the bacteria that live in a person’s mouth can be found striving solely on the tongue. This means that if you do not cleanse your tongue, those specific bacteria are never killed from your mouth.

Every single time your brush the teeth, you should use the tongue scraper as well (not the toothbrush, because that is not as efficient). Reaching as far back as possible onto the tongue is important, and with a scraper is much easier than with a toothbrush which might give you a strong, unpleasant gag reflex.

Patients who have certain underlying health problems, or who do not have the dexterity to cleanse their tongue, as well as people who breathe mostly through the mouth will develop a crusty tongue. Now while you brush the teeth, the tongue might hurt because of these cracks and crusts that formed. A good idea would be to use a special mouth moistening formula and apply it onto the tongue before brushing (essential oil extract moisteners such as tea tree oil which also has an antibiotic effect).

The tongue is susceptible to developing cancer. About once a week it is important to run a self check and see if there are any new formations appearing on the tongue (such as white or red spots, wart like formations, etc.,).

Oral cancer can go without any symptoms for a very long time, this is why it is of primordial importance to get an oral cancer check at last once per year. Sticking out the tongue and analyzing it closely in the mirror can help observing even the tiniest changes in the tissue or coloration of the tongue.

If possible, stay away from tongue piercing. Dentists are totally against this type of body ornament because it can easily cause infections within the mouth. Your mouth is a constantly humid area where as many as 500 different bacteria are living.

You don’t want more bacteria, and you don’t want to make those bacteria “angry” and facilitating a nasty infection because of your piercing. Your teeth and gums are also damaged by the tiny piece of metal that is almost constantly there, so make sure to avoid such jewelry.

If you have any type of concern about the health and/or care of your tongue please give us a call.  Do not let a concern go unheeded.  Any warning sign heeded can end up saving your life.

Call us today!
(541) 451-1440

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