man brushing teeth at bathroom mirrorAsk the average person what they need to do to keep their teeth healthy, and they’ll likely say, “brush and floss” (even though most Americans are horribly lax when it comes to flossing).

Certainly, those things are both important, along with getting regular dental exams and cleanings. But they’re not the be-all, end-all, as far as home care is concerned.

Patients here at our holistic, biological practice know that other factors, such as nutrition, are just as important; likewise, getting enough exercise and good quality sleep, managing stress, and other lifestyle factors.

And when it comes to cleaning their teeth, they may use other tools beyond brush and floss, and incorporate practices like oil pulling, as well.

All these go a very long way toward keeping your teeth and gums as healthy as possible – something that’s essential for maintaining good whole body health, as well. But there’s one aspect of cleaning that quite a few people overlook, perhaps because it doesn’t involve the teeth or the gums.

It’s cleaning the tongue. And it needs to be cleaned. Regularly.

Covered with all those little bumps – the papillae – the tongue makes a great harbor for dead skin cells and food particles. It’s also a great breeding ground for bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Suffice it to say, carrying all this gunk on your tongue can turn your breath pretty stinky.

The collected bacteria and other microbes are also easily spread from your tongue to your gums and teeth, raising your risk of tartar buildup, decay, gum disease, and other infections.

So yes, you need to clean your tongue.

The easiest option is to simply use your regular toothbrush, brushing your tongue gently after you’ve finished brushing all of your teeth. If you use a manual toothbrush, it may even have a textured side opposite the bristled side. That textured side exists for tongue cleaning.

But some people prefer to use a dedicated tongue scraper for the job. You simply drag this (usually) u-shaped device slowly down the length of your tongue, front to back, to remove bacteria and other debris.

 
It’s that easy and a real difference-maker, for minimal time and cost.

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