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5 Things to Do to Care for Your Tongue

Care for Your Tongue

We have plenty of ready-made advice about the importance of caring for our teeth. But did you know that you should also be caring for your tongue?

This essential part of your body is responsible for everything from speaking to sensations. When it’s taken care of well, it can enhance your sense of taste, keep your breath fresh, and reduce tooth decay.

We usually take our tongues for granted. They do the job and don’t require any upkeep. But because the tongue lives 24/7 in a moist environment, you really should be caring for it. 

It’s not hard, and it can make a significant difference in your oral hygiene. All you need to do is use these tips; your tongue will reward you with increased sensation, better breath, and healthier teeth.

1. Brush Your Teeth and Your Tongue

According to the American Dental Association, you’re supposed to brush your teeth twice daily, each for two minutes. Before you complete your final spit and rinse, don’t forget to include your tongue!

Why is it so important to turn this part of oral hygiene into your regular routine? When you brush, you clear out the bacteria from your teeth and gums. But there are still thousands of those little microorganisms clinging to the soft tissue of your tongue.

All you need to do is add a little extra toothpaste to your brush after you’re done with your teeth. Insert the toothbrush toward the back of your mouth and brush your tongue using a downward movement. Keep moving until you’ve cleaned the whole area with gentle pressure, then rinse with water.

2. Rinse With Clean Water

You’ve probably been using tap water to rinse your mouth your whole life up through now. While it’s not wrong, it’s also not the best way to finish off your brushing routine. 

Tap water isn’t sterile. It’s possible that it carries germs and bacteria in it, and you’re replacing the ones you just cleaned with new ones from the water.

Instead, use filtered or boiled water. An occasional salt water rinse can give you an extra dose of bacteria-killing power.

3. Scrape Your Tongue Clean

Tongue scrapers are a wise (and even fun) way to get your tongue squeaky clean. These scrapers are made from soft plastic that is flexible enough to adjust to the shape of your tongue.

As you scrape the top layer, you clear out the mucus and bacteria that collects there. Simply swipe, rinse the scraper under warm water to clean it, then swipe again. When your tongue is clean, you’re done.

Remember, cleaning your mouth, including your teeth, gums, and tongue does not require heavy pressure. If your tongue starts hurting after you scrape it, you’re likely pressing too hard.

4. Clean Your Oral Appliances

Millions of people use some sort of oral device throughout the day. Whether you have a retainer, Invisalign, a mouth guard, or a night guard, you need to keep it clean.

These appliances sit in a warm, wet environment for hours. They accumulate bacteria and other germs and need to be cared for so these extra microorganisms don’t move to your tongue.

This is particularly true for guards used specifically to keep your tongue in place, such as those prescribed for patients with obstructive sleep apnea. But even if your night guard is for your TMJ or bruxism conditions, it still comes in contact with your tongue.

Keeping it clean reduces your chances of getting sick and minimizes the extra bacteria on your tongue.

5. Stay Hydrated

Your tongue needs moisture to do its job. Dry tongues can’t taste anything; the taste buds and other sensations rely on saliva to activate them.

When you’re not drinking enough fluids, one of the first organs to feel the effects is your tongue. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water or green tea. Green tea kills the bacteria that cause bad breath. 

The more fluids you drink, the better hydrated you’ll stay. By the time you feel dehydrated, it’s too late. The best way to avoid this is to drink a few ounces of water each hour. 

The next time you think you have bad breath or your tongue feels like that annoying “cotton mouth” texture, grab a glass of water or green tea and drink the whole thing.


Brushing your teeth is only one part of your oral hygiene routine. Take care of your tongue with these five small techniques; you’ll notice the impact as things taste better, your breath smells better, and your teeth are healthier.

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