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5 Things Every Patient Should Know About Their Tongue

Palos Heights Dentist

When trying to improve your oral health, it is very important that you don’t overlook the tongue! Your tongue is critical for a number of reasons: it helps you to taste your food, to speak clearly, and it is even vital for chewing and swallowing. In order to ensure you’re taking good care of your tongue, be sure that you’re aware of these five important facts!

1. The surface of your tongue is covered in bacteria.

Your mouth is filled with bacteria—some harmful and some helpful. Your tongue is no exception! In fact, scientists have found that a third of the bacteria found on the tongue isn’t found on any other surface in your mouth. Bacteria easily gets trapped on the papillae—the tiny bumps on the surface of your tongue—and can impact your breath, taste, and even the appearance of your tongue.

2. You should brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth.

With the multitudes of bacteria that grow on the surface of your tongue, it is critical that you brush your tongue regularly. You can do so with a toothbrush or even a tongue scraper. While doing so, be certain to get the back of the tongue as well, as many germs can collect there. Ultimately, doing so will allow you to maintain your oral health, keep your breath fresh, and protect your sense of taste!

3. It is possible that your tongue may require extra care.

There are certain medical conditions that can affect the health of your tongue. For example, if you breathe through your mouth or suffer from dry mouth, you should take extra care to moisten the tongue and remove bacteria from the surface of it during your dental hygiene routine. This is because, when your tongue is dry or not cleaned properly, bacteria has a tendency to flourish. Therefore, try chewing on sugar-free gum, drinking plenty of water, and brushing your tongue thoroughly.

4. Your tongue can be a helpful diagnostic tool.

A healthy tongue will usually be light pink, but when it is bright red it can be a warning sign for health issues such as a sore throat. If you have white spots on your tongue, it could be an indicator of a fungal infection. Therefore, if you notice any changes in your tongue, you may want to visit your doctor.

5. Smoking can have major repercussions for your tongue.

Did you know that smoking can permanently damage your tongue? When you smoke, the shape of your papillae changes, becoming flatter. This makes them less receptive to taste, so you won’t be able to enjoy your favorite foods as much as you used to! Also, smoking can lead to oral cancer, which can leave an ulcer on the tongue that impacts your abilities to speak and taste foods.

Do you want to improve the health of your tongue, teeth, and gums? Contact College Drive Dental in Palos Heights today to schedule an appointment for your next routine check-up! We’ll provide a thorough professional cleaning and oral exam to ensure your mouth is in great shape.

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