While it may be common practice to brush your teeth twice a day, and floss regularly before going to sleep, how many people take the time to brush their tongues too? As it turns out, it may be high time that you give your oral health habits an upgrade.
Not convinced? Did you know that 700 different bacteria species live in the mouth? While not all of these microbes are harmful, when the bad ones set up shop and multiply, or small bumps surface on the tongue, they can cause some real damage. Your tongue can be seen as a bacteria sponge spreading bad bacteria throughout the mouth, causing problems and disease. Here are some possible conditions you may encounter:
One of the main problems you may encounter with not brushing your tongue is bad breath. The bacteria on your tongue will give off a foul smell. They tend to lurk at the back of the mouth, so brush your tongue to get rid of the bad breath.
If you don't brush your tongue you may notice a nasty coating of bacteria, food particles and dead skin cells called a biofilm, that can cover up your taste buds. To get your taste buds going again, use a tongue scraper, removing the biofilm.
As strange as it may sound, black hairy tongue is a condition that arises when the papillae on your tongue get strained from leftover food or drink particles. As the particles are never brushed away it gives the tongue a dark, furry appearance. While harmless, once you start tongue brushing, it should disappear.
Known as oral thrush, this tends to happen when the bacteria levels in your mouth get out of control, usually due to not brushing your tongue. As a result, yeast tends to grow out of control, resulting in white patches on the tongue. While an antifungal medication can cure it, regular tongue brushing should keep it at bay.
Bacterial buildup on your tongue can spread to your teeth, causing gingivitis, or red, inflamed gums. If left untreated, the inflammation can advance to periodontal disease, where the gums pull away from the teeth and the space between the gums becomes infected. This may cause your teeth to fall out. Furthermore, chronic inflammation caused by periodontal disease is linked to a higher risk of heart attack, stroke and miscarriage.