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There are three main ways to clean your tongue:
The best way to clean the tongue is with a tongue scraper. A quality tongue scraper will have a head composed of a flattened or curved rim made of metal, plastic, or copper. Most drug stores carry tongue scrapers that cost $10.00 and under.
To use a tongue scraper:
When scraping your tongue, you should see a thin layer of mucus-like liquid that may be white, yellow, or brown. Do not swallow it.
For enhanced hygiene, leave the tongue scraper sitting head down in antibacterial mouthwash in between uses.
Gently running your toothbrush over the tongue can also help remove harmful bacteria and debris.
Start by brushing the back of the tongue and slowly moving forward. Brush the tongue with a clean toothbrush to avoid spreading plaque, debris, and bacteria from the teeth onto the tongue. Rinse the mouth and toothbrush afterward.
Using an antibacterial or antiseptic mouthwash or rinse can also clean the tongue. When rinsing, actively swish the liquid back and forth over the tongue’s surface. You can use your cheek muscles to coat the entire tongue.
Most mouthwashes and rinses are more effective if you use them for at least 60 seconds. Never swallow mouthwash.
Putting in the extra effort to clean the tongue can offer several perks. Common benefits of cleaning the tongue include:
Like brushing your teeth, it’s best to clean the tongue twice daily as part of your oral hygiene routine.
But if the tongue becomes irritated, try cleaning it less aggressively or once daily. If you’re using a toothbrush to clean the tongue, use a soft-bristled or a child’s one to avoid irritation.
If your tongue looks or feels different than normal, talk to a dentist or doctor. Also, talk to a healthcare professional if you notice:
A dentist can clean your tongue during regular teeth cleanings. They may also prescribe an extra-strength mouth rinse to use at home.
Many of us don’t think about it, but the tongue, like the rest of your mouth, requires cleaning to stay healthy. The best way to clean the tongue is to use a tongue scraper, but you can also gently use a clean toothbrush, antibacterial mouthwash, or rinse.
If you notice that your tongue becomes discolored, has uneven patches, becomes painful for no clear reason, or has sores that don’t heal on their own, talk to a dentist or doctor.
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