Keeping your tongue clean is an important part of oral health care and hygiene. Why? Because oral bacteria can build up on your tongue, just like it does on your teeth.
If excess bacteria accumulate on your tongue, you may experience halitosis or bad breath. But that’s not all. You may also be at higher risk of more serious oral health complications, such as oral infections, periodontal disease and lung infections.
Daily tongue cleaning reduces your risk of gum disease (periodontal disease)
Cleaning your tongue is very important if you want to reduce pathogenic tongue bacteria. Take Fusobacterium Nucleatum for example. It is a highly invasive bacterium that causes periodontal (gum) disease.
F. Nucleatum feed off fermenting carbohydrates and cause dental plaque. These microorganisms live quite comfortably in the mucus on your tongue. They can proliferate into huge colonies within tongue mucus, which can contain 100s of millions of these nasty rod-shaped critters. Now imagine brushing your teeth, but not your tongue.
What happens next?
As soon as you put down your toothbrush and close your mouth, your bacterially coated tongue is going to redeposit millions of bacteria straight back onto the teeth you’ve just cleaned! F. Nucleatum can also infect the head, neck, chest, lungs, liver and abdomen if given the opportunity.
Tongue cleaning may help prevent lung infections
Tongue cleaning is a crucial part of a general health routine to help prevent pathogenic bacteria from spreading to the rest of your body. Many previous clinical studies have shown that you can inhale aspirated oral bacteria from your mouth straight into your lungs. This can lead to health complications if your immune system is under par.
According to a new study published by Japanese dental researchers in August 2018, a bacterial imbalance on your tongue can lead to pneumonia and other respiratory health problems – especially if you are an older adult with missing teeth, high plaque levels and more tooth decay than usual.
The Japanese researchers noted that equal attention should be given to maintaining proper oral care of the tongue, as well as the teeth and gums, for good oral health.