Do you take great care of your teeth and gums, but still find yourself struggling with bad breath? Did you know it could be due to bacteria on the surface of your tongue? While the teeth might be the most visible signifier of whether your smile is healthy or not, that doesn’t mean your tongue doesn’t need dental care, too. In fact, if you really want to prevent oral health threats, like cavities, gum disease, and other problems, make sure you are keeping your tongue clean, along with your teeth and gums.

Why Does the Tongue Need Dental Attention?

Bacteria are attracted to the rippled surface of the tongue, as well as the teeth and gums. In fact, many people struggle with a bacteria-filled microfilm on the surface of the tongue, because it is so easy to overlook when caring for the smile.

Over time, the bacteria on the tongue can lead to acidity that can harm the teeth’s enamel or even contribute to the development of gum disease. Avoid this by brushing your tongue each time you brush your teeth, or if you prefer, use a tongue scraper (available at most drug stores). Mouthwash can help improve your breath, of course, but it can only remove the outermost layer of bacteria on the tongue’s surface. Regular brushing is best.

Is Preventive Care Still Necessary?

Routine preventive checkups and cleanings are essential, even for those already enjoying good oral health. That is because regular professional visits are the best way to check for potential problems, and also to remove any existing tartar buildup, which can help smiles look – and smell – their best!