Did you know that a healthy tongue is an essential part of your overall oral health? Your tongue is one of your mouth's most important defenses against bacteria and plaque. It also allows you to taste and swallow the foods you love, articulate words correctly, play instruments, (and even kiss). If your tongue is so important, how do you know if it's healthy? During your regular dental appointment with the DDC team, we always examine your tongue for abnormalities such as sores, discoloration, thrush, cancer, or other diseases. However, here are some tips for checking your tongue health in between dental visits:
A healthy tongue will be pink, smooth, and flexible. Any white residue or build up creates a welcoming environment for bacteria that can lead to halitosis (bad breath), tooth decay, and even gum disease. If your tongue is red, black, white, yellow or purple, that may be a sign of other infections or health issues.
If you have fissures, wrinkles or lesions, you could be at risk for many bacterial infections or other serious health problems. If you notice any of these abnormalities, please contact our office. Depending on your specific situation, we will either recommend a solution over the phone or schedule an appointment to return you to optimal oral health.
A dry, cracked tongue will create a welcome space for bacteria and contribute to poor tasting of your favorite foods. Healthy saliva glands produce saliva regularly, contributing positively to your tongue's health. Drinking water in place of acidic drinks will prevent dry mouth and help your saliva glands function properly.
As a muscle, your tongue enjoys a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Tongues thrive on the iron found in spinach, leafy greens, red meat, poultry, and seafood. Foods with anti-microbial properties such as chopped onions, shiitake mushrooms, garlic, coconuts, and ginger are helpful in fighting oral bacteria.
Include proper tongue care in your daily oral care habits. Food particles often get stuck on the tongue, leading to bad breath and bacteria. Along with brushing and flossing, don't forget to brush and scrape your tongue regularly to help remove the buildup of food and bacteria. Daily tongue cleaning will enhance tastes as well as improve your immune system, digestive health, and your overall oral health. If you have any questions or concerns about your tongue health or daily care, please contact the DDC team today.