KN Dentistry

What You Need to Know about Your Tongue

Conversations about oral health generally focus a lot on teeth and gums, but there is another area that is important too - your tongue.

Your tongue is a hard to miss muscular organ in the middle of your mouth that helps with chewing, swallowing, tasting and speech. It is very strong, never tires and is covered in thousands of tiny bumps called papillae that interpret flavors as you eat. We think it's pretty important because it keeps us alive, helps with communication and enhances our enjoyment of food.

When you come in for a professional teeth cleaning, our hygienists always examine your tongue carefully. Our main focus is looking for oral cancer, but there are other issues that can show up on the tongue as well.

  • Canker sores
  • Cold sores - herpes
  • Burning tongue/mouth syndrome
  • Hairy tongue - an overgrowth of papillae
  • Oral leukoplakia - white patches that can be a precursor to cancer

Your tongue can also be the source of an overgrowth of bacteria that can impact your oral microbiome and general health. Build up on the tongue from sinuses, food, chemicals and other sources can cause bad breath and inhibit your ability to taste what you eat and drink. It can also create a bad taste in your mouth.

We recommend including cleaning your tongue in your daily oral hygiene routine along with brushing and flossing. There are a couple ways to do this:

Brush - You can simply clean your tongue with your toothbrush as you brush your teeth. This will not remove heavy build up quickly but will make a difference and is an excellent maintenance routine.

Use a Tongue Scraper - These painless tools simply wipe the surface of the tongue clean. They are generally available for under $10 and do a better job than a toothbrush alone.

You will be glad you started this new healthy habit because:

  • Your tongue will feel better
  • Your breath will be fresher
  • Your ability to taste will improve
  • There will be less dangerous bacteria in your mouth

We encourage you to give your tongue the attention it deserves. It only takes a minute or two a day and the benefits are well worth it.

If you have any questions or would like support with this or other areas of oral health, please give us a call.

We promise to take great care of you!

KN Dentistry - Orange, CA - (714) 633-2562

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