Do You Really Have to Brush Your Tongue?

A person puts toothpaste on a toothbrush.

Brushing your teeth seems like a simple activity, right? But as it turns out, there are all sorts of things to know like if you really need to brush your tongue.

So do you? Does your tongue require brushing? If you’ve been skipping this step, it’s past time to start.

If you have never looked closely at your tongue, you might not realize that it’s filled with cracks and crevices. That means yes, bacteria can get trapped in there, and over time, a buildup develops called the biofilm that’s made of a bunch of microorganisms. Unfortunately, the bacteria in there is difficult to kill and can’t be removed using water or even a mouthwash rinse.

The answer is to brush your tongue to remove the film which can ultimately lead to bad breath, and no one wants that.

Healthline spoke with John D. Kling, DDS, of Alexandria, Virginia, who said you should use your toothbrush and gently brush your tongue back and forth and side to side before rinsing with water. The key is to do so gently in order to prevent breaking the skin.

You might have seen people using tongue scrapers as well. These small tools that you can keep in your bathroom might be even more effective at cleaning the tongue, and they’re affordable. If you struggling with bad breath or feel as though your brush isn’t enough, a tongue scraper could help.

The next time you’re brushing your teeth and about to move on to the next step in your morning routine, make sure you also brush your tongue.

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