4 Reasons to Brush Your Tongue as Well as Your Teeth

When you brush your teeth, do you brush your tongue, too? Although the focus is usually on your teeth and gums, your tongue is important to your oral health, too. The main reason for this is plaque. Plaque is the unpleasant substance that grows on your teeth and feels rough when you run your tongue over it. But more plaque forms on your tongue than your teeth, and it is plaque that causes the following four problems.

1. Tooth Decay

Plaque looks like a sticky residue. But if you looked at that residue through a microscope, you would see millions of bacteria. Bacteria create plaque and live in it. Since your tongue's surface is covered with bumps and grooves, it is easier for plaque to cling to your tongue than it is for plaque to cling to your teeth. This is why there is usually more plaque on the tongue than there is on teeth.

So even if you remove most of the plaque from your teeth when you brush, if you miss your tongue, you are missing the biggest concentration of bacteria. Bacteria causes tooth decay. And if you don't remove plaque from your tongue, the bacteria in that plaque will spread to your teeth. So even if you brush your teeth well, they might still be at risk of tooth decay if you don't brush your tongue.

2. Gum Disease

The bacteria in plaque also cause gum disease. This is because oral bacteria don't just damage teeth — they also damage gum tissue. When the bacteria in plaque spread below your gum tissue, they cause your gums to become inflamed and swollen. Your gums will also bleed when you brush your teeth. In extreme cases, your gums will recede. This is gum disease.

3. Bad Breath

The human tongue is often the cause of bad breath. This is because plaque has an unpleasant odour that originates from the waste products of oral bacteria. This means that the more plaque there is on your tongue, the worse your breath will be. This is what leads to morning breath. Overnight, the bacteria in your mouth have a chance to thrive and grow.

4. Poor Taste

Did you know that the average human mouth has about 8,000 taste buds? Most of these taste buds are on the tongue. Thus, if your tongue is covered with a thick layer of plaque, you'll struggle to taste food since your taste buds are buried under the plaque.

If you don't brush your tongue very often, then the aforementioned problems might convince you to do so more often.

To learn more, contact a dentist.