Cleaning of the tongue can be carried out with a normal tooth brush, but preferably with the tongue scraper if a coating is established. This should be gentle cleaning to prevent the soft tissue damage. It is best to clean as far backward as possible because the back part of the tongue has the maximum coating. Tongue cleaning should be repeated until almost no coating material can be removed. Gagging reflexes can be there especially if tooth brushes are used, practice helps to prevent this. It can also be helpful to pull the tongue out with a gauge pad. Tongue cleaning has the additional advantage of improving the taste sensation. Tongue cleaning is very essential for smokers, mouth breathers.
If the tongue is cleaned with the tooth brush then apply light pressure on the tongue with clean tooth brush. The back area of the tongue should be cleaned properly because in the back of the tongue maximum deposits are there. Initially there can be gag reflex but with practice you will become comfortable.
Tongue scraper is available in the drug stores. they are very effective in cleaning the tongue .For using tongue scraper keep it as far back as possible on the tongue because that is the area where the bad breath producing bacteria and the food particles get deposited. Drag the scraper from back to front putting light pressure. Repeat this till the tongue is clean. The design of the scraper is like it cleans the tongue effectively.
To clean your tongue with dental floss, take a good length of floss (about a foot) and wrap each end around your middle fingers. Apply downward pressure with your index fingers, stick out your tongue, and drag the floss from the back of the tongue to the front several times. You might want to keep the water running so that you may rinse off the floss in between scrapings
There are various advantages of tongue cleaning which are as follows:
Daily hygiene of tongue is an important part of “total mouth care “in addition to brushing and polishing.
It reduces the source of halitosis that is bad breath.
Reduces the root caries.
Reduces the risk of infection in periodontal openings while decreasing the bacterial population.
Improves the taste sensation because of which interest in different types of food is created especially in elders.
It improves the confidence.
Tongue cleaning may trigger gag reflex.
It can damage the taste buds present on the surface of the tongue, if it is practiced in an aggressive manner.
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