Should I Be Cleaning My Tongue? 

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Should I Be Cleaning My Tongue? 


When talking about oral health, we often refer to the teeth and gums. However, there’s another important part of your mouth that doesn’t get talked about often enough when it comes to dental hygiene — the tongue. Should you be cleaning it? This is what you need to know. 

The Anatomy of the Tongue 

The tongue is a muscular organ in the mouth. WebMD explains that it is covered with moist, pink tissue known as the mucosa. Tiny bumps, known as papillae, are what give it a rough texture. Thousands of taste buds cover the surfaces of the papillae. Taste buds are collections of nerve-like cells that connect to nerves running into the brain. 

It is held in the mouth by webs of tough tissue and mucosa. The tether that holds the tongue down at the front is called the frenum. At the back of the mouth, it is connected to the hyoid bone. Without your tongue, you wouldn’t be able to chew, swallow, or talk correctly. 

Should You Clean the Tongue? 

You know that you should brush your teeth and keep your teeth and gums clean, but what about the tongue? Tongue cleaning has been practiced in the eastern world for hundreds of years. In fact, research has shown that cleaning the tongue often can help reduce unwanted bacteria in the mouth that can lead to bad breath, plaque buildup, and more. To clean the tongue, Healthline offers three different techniques to try: 

Tongue Scraper

A scraper is one of the most effective ways to clean the tongue. To use a scraper, you should:

  • Purchase a scraping instrument. It can be plastic or metal and made into a V shape or have a round edge at the top. 
  • Stick your tongue out as far as you can.
  • Place your scraper toward the back of your mouth.
  • Press the scraper down and move it towards the front while applying pressure. 
  • Run the scraper under warm water to clear any debris and bacteria from the device. Spit out any excess saliva that builds up during this process. 
  • Repeat this process up to 5 times. As needed, adjust the placement of the scraper and apply appropriate pressure to prevent a gag reflex. 


Another way to keep clean is by using a toothbrush. Though less effective than a scraper, it’s still a good way to clean the mouth. It’s also found by some people to be easier to use. To use a toothbrush, follow these tips:

  • Make sure you’re using a soft-bristled toothbrush. 
  • Stick your tongue out as far as it can go.
  • Place the toothbrush at the back of the mouth and brush lightly forward and backward.
  • Spit out saliva as needed and repeat as needed. 

Mouth Rinse 

Mouth rinses, also known as mouthwash, can also assist in cleaning the entire mouth. You’ll need to look for a mouthwash that contains active ingredients that will kill bacteria in your mouth that can lead to oral health problems. If needed, your dentist can also prescribe one for you. 


In addition to how to clean the tongue, Healthline also explains the benefits that come along with keeping it clean: 

  • Reduces sulfur compounds that can cause bad breath. Studies have shown that scrapers helped reduce sulfur compounds that lead to bad breath. It removed up to 75% of these compounds, versus a toothbrush only removing about 45%. 
  • Less bacteria found in the mouth. Keeping the tongue clean regularly keeps bacteria levels low, but they only stay low with regular cleaning. 
  • Contributes to a fresher-feeling mouth. Keeping a clean tongue can help your mouth feel more fresh and clean. 
  • Can alter taste perceptions. Cleaning the tongue could also alter your taste perceptions, particularly of sucrose and citric acid. 

No matter how you choose to clean your tongue, it’s not enough to only do that on its own. You should continue to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once per day. Further, you should continue to drink plenty of water and eat foods that are vitamin-rich and contribute to a healthy, well-rounded diet. 

Make an Appointment with Mountain Aire Dentistry 

If you want to learn more about your tongue and how to keep it clean, make an appointment with Mountain Aire Dentistry today. It’s especially important to make an appointment if you notice any changes with your tongue, develop any patches, suffer a burn, or develop sores. Call us today: (303)-731-7755. 


291 E Flatiron Crossing Dr,
Broomfield, CO 80021

(303) 731-7755


When you visit our Broomfield dental office, your smile is our top priority. Our Dentists invite you to experience the difference a warm and caring team can provide for you and your family. Enjoy a unique and comfortable dental experience designed to bring a healthier and happier smile back into your life. We invite you to call or visit our Broomfield dental office and discover the exceptional difference we offer to those we serve.

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