While many people know the importance of taking good care of their teeth, it is important to know that good oral health doesn’t just end there! The condition of all of your oral structures—including the tongue—is vital to your oral health. To make sure you’re taking good care of your tongue, just follow these five simple steps!
Step 1: Brush your tongue regularly.
The surface of your tongue is covered in tiny bumps called papillae, which can trap bacteria. This can lead to bad breath, impact your sense of taste, and even impact other parts of the mouth. In fact, if not cleaned properly, your tongue may even change color! To avoid this, be sure to brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth. You can even use a tongue scraper if you’d like! Just be certain to reach your cleaning device all the way to the back of the tongue to get the germs that may be collecting there.
Step 2: Quit smoking.
Smoking can have a long-lasting impact on the health of your tongue. When you smoke, it impacts the shape of your papillae and makes them flatter. Once this damage occurs, these taste buds can never recover. Therefore, smoking can cause you to permanently lose some of your ability to taste and enjoy certain foods. Additionally, smoking can increase the likelihood of getting oral cancer. Cancer of the tongue often presents as a firm ulcer, and can impact your speech and taste.
Step 3: Drink more water.
If you’re not drinking around two liters of water per day, there is a chance that you may be dehydrated — which can impact your tongue’s health! When you don’t drink enough water, your body’s initial reaction is to stop producing saliva, making your mouth feel dry. Saliva is important for fighting bad breath, washing away bacteria, and protecting your teeth from decay. Therefore, to ensure your tongue remains in good health, be sure to carry a water bottle around with you!
Step 4: Keep on a healthy diet.
Your tongue, like any other muscle, relies on a healthy diet to stay in good shape. Try to stick to a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. We recommend eating iron-rich foods like leafy greens, seafood, poultry, and red meat. You can also eat foods to fight bad bacteria, such as chopped onions, garlic, ginger, and coconuts!
Step 5: Visit the dentist every six months.
According to the American Dental Association, it is highly recommended that you visit the dentist every six months. At Caputo Dental, we’ll provide you with a thorough oral exam and professional cleaning to ensure your tongue is in good health—and stays that way!
Are you ready to schedule your regular dental check-up? Contact Caputo Dental in Naperville today!