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  • Writer's pictureMin Soo Kim

Is Brushing Your Tongue Necessary?

Should I brush my tongue? This topic has been an ongoing question for years. Some say that it improves bad breath. Others say that it has had no effect except triggering their gag reflex. As uncomfortable and inconvenient as it may be, brushing your tongue is a practice all of us should partake in.

Whether it is drinking wine or sucking on a lollipop, it is noticeable that the colour of our tongue changes. This is because some particles of the food and drinks consumed stick to the surface of the tongue. Unfortunately, this doesn’t just mean that the taste will linger; bacteria will find a nice home there as well.

Bacteria will accumulate greatly in the tongue between the taste buds and other tongue structures. It’s not smooth, there are crevices and elevations all over the tongue, and the bacteria will hide in these areas unless it is removed. The prolonged buildup of bacteria could cause tooth decay and periodontal disease (gum disease).

Gross, right?

‘But I rinse my mouth with mouthwash; surely that would do the trick’, I hear you say. Unfortunately, that isn’t enough as it will only destroy the bacteria that sits on the outside of the mass, leaving the ones closer to the tongue unharmed.

This is where we return to the title. Is brushing your tongue necessary? Absolutely! Regardless of how well you brush your teeth, there will still be particles on your tongue that will accumulate unless you brush your tongue. Integrate tongue brushing into your oral care routine (twice a day), focus on the back, and not brush hard.

Happy Brushing!

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