Tongue coating & tongue cleaning

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Tongue coating & tongue cleaning

While brushing our teeth is a matter of course for us, tongue cleaning is usually woefully neglected in oral hygiene. Yet the tongue is home to many bacteria that can cause bad breath, gum problems and tooth decay.

Tongue coating: playground for bacteria

Around 60-80 percent of all bacteria in the oral cavity are found in the tongue coating. The problem is that food residues and dead mucous membrane cells also get stuck on the rough surface of the tongue. These serve as “food” for the bacteria, so to speak, and are decomposed into harmful decomposition products.

These include:

  • Sulfur compounds, which can cause bad breath
  • Toxins that irritate the gums; gingivitis or periodontitis can be the result
  • Acids that attack tooth enamel and promote the development of caries

Against this background, it becomes clear why it is so important to remove the coating on the tongue and to integrate tongue cleaning as an integral part of one’s daily oral hygiene program.
Removing tongue coating: This is how it works

If you clean your tongue regularly, you can remove significantly more bacteria than brushing your teeth alone. But what is important when cleaning the tongue?

Tongue cleaning should be done primarily in the area of the rear third of the tongue. The reason for this is that we often run over our teeth with the front part of the tongue – this has a self-cleaning effect, so to speak. In the back area, on the other hand, bacteria can accumulate and multiply undisturbed.

Tongue cleaner: The right tool

Special tongue brushes or tongue cleaners (also called “tongue scrapers”) are available for cleaning the tongue. These are characterized by the fact that they are particularly long and narrow, so that when cleaning the tongue you do not hit the uvula in the throat (gag reflex!). This is a clear advantage over conventional toothbrushes with comparatively high brush heads.

Cleaning the tongue: Step-by-step instructions

The most important steps for “cleaning the tongue” at a glance:

  • Remove the tongue coating twice a day directly after brushing your teeth.
  • To do this, stick out your tongue and grasp the tip of the tongue with your index finger and thumb.
  • Run the tongue cleaner over the tongue several times from back to front – start in the back third of the tongue.
  • Be careful not to apply too much pressure
  • Clean the tongue scraper in between under running water
  • Finally, rinse the mouth with water and, if necessary, use an antibacterial mouthwash.
  • Finally, rinse the tongue cleaner thoroughly under running water and let it dry in a cup

Extra tip: A professional tongue cleaning can also be performed at the dentist’s office from time to time.

Gagging when cleaning your tongue?

This can help:

  • Use suitable tongue cleaner
  • Regular tongue cleaning (habituation effect)
  • Close your eyes
  • Hold the tip of the tongue

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