When it comes to oral care, teeth and gums typically get all the attention. After all, they're the areas of the mouth that tend to decay or get inflamed quickest without regular cleaning, and mistreatment can lead to a raft of unpleasant conditions, ranging from innocuous bad breath to more serious decay. While these are of course critical areas to focus on, it's very important not to spend so much time on them that you forget about the rest.
In this article, we'll talk about another crucial element of good oral hygiene – the tongue – and discuss just why you want to give it some love. Read on to find out more.
Any issues or irritations with the tongue can prove quite distressing.
All about the tongue
The tongue is often referred to as the 'strongest muscle in the body', and while this is perhaps true, it is actually more accurate to describe the tongue as a combination of muscles. Eight groups of them in fact! You might wonder why a seemingly simple organ has such a complex makeup, but the tongue really isn't simple at all. It plays a part in everything from mastication to swallowing, along with other functions such as taste and temperature sensing.
Because it's so important to our everyday lives, any issues or irritations with the tongue can prove quite distressing. This is especially true if you're unable to eat. In addition, many conditions are aesthetically unpleasant, with some, like oral thrush and lichen planus, causing a white, lumpy discolouration.
So, you know that you need to take care of your tongue, but how do you do that? Well it's really not very complicated. Consider the way that you look after the rest of your mouth and apply those same basic ideas. Clean regularly, avoid irritants and visit your local dentist whenever you're worried that something might not be quite right.
In terms of the cleaning itself, many modern toothbrushes come with a specialised tool on the back of the head that is designed explicitly for this purpose. If you don't have one of these brushes, you can always use normal bristles. On the other hand, if a deeper and more thorough clean is what you're after, specialised 'tongue scrapers' are available and can make a big difference. In any case, the goal is to remove the layer of mucus on the surface, which can harbour nasty bacteria and microscopic food particles.
By making sure to pay attention to your tongue, you'll be well on the way to a cleaner, healthier mouth. For more information get in touch with City Dentists today.