You floss diligently. You brush as instructed. But, do you take proper care of your tongue? The answer is probably not! While many people may think they are taking great care of their smiles and braces, many leave out this important step in their oral hygiene routine. Here are some reasons why you should practice excellent tongue care during orthodontic treatment!
1. Poor tongue hygiene causes bad breath. When you wear braces, you can easily get food caught in brackets, wires, or o-rings. This leads to an increased risk of bad breath. However, if you practice excellent oral hygiene—flossing, brushing, and rinsing with water—poor tongue hygiene could be causing your halitosis. Like your braces, your tongue easily gathers bacteria. If you don’t remove it, it will build up over time and become a smelly problem due to the sulfur compounds produced by oral bacteria.
2. Bacteria will spread from your tongue. Any bacteria in your mouth will spread. Don’t render your excellent brushing or flossing routines ineffective because of your tongue! Removing bacteria on your tongue will keep your entire mouth healthier.
3. Bad tongue health can worsen periodontal disease. If bacteria from the tongue travels to the gums, it can worsen gum disease. Gum disease leads to swelling, inflammation, bleeding, and bad breath. It is a serious concern—especially when you have braces—since it can impede your healthy smile transformation. To avoid periodontal disease or to manage it most effectively, you must be extra thorough with your oral hygiene—including your tongue hygiene.
Keep your tongue clean
Keeping your tongue clean is simple! Just add a 30-second step to your oral hygiene routine. Using your toothbrush bristles or the tongue cleaner side of your toothbrush (if you have one), brush your tongue gently. The most effective way is to brush from the back of your tongue to its tip. After 30 seconds, rinse your mouth and spit.
For extra help, you can also use a tongue scraper. These devices remove the mucus layer on your tongue where bacteria gather. A word of caution: Be gentle with your tongue scraper. Scraping too hard or aggressively can cut your tongue, so be careful!
With these tips in mind, you can boost your overall dental health and help your orthodontic treatment go smoothly! For more tips about life with braces or if you are ready to book an appointment with our team, please call us today.