Should i brush my tongue with toothpaste?

Brushing your tongue with toothpaste can be an effective way to maintain good oral hygiene and reduce bad breath. It removes bacteria and debris that can contribute to bad breath, and toothpaste can help to freshen your breath and kill bacteria.

However, it is important to choose the right toothpaste for brushing your tongue. Antibacterial toothpastes can be especially effective at killing bacteria on the tongue and reducing bad breath. Additionally, the flavor of the toothpaste can impact the effectiveness and overall experience of brushing your tongue.

Effects of brushing your tongue with toothpaste

Brushing your tongue with toothpaste can offer several advantages for your oral hygiene and overall health. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Help to remove and kill harmful bacteria that could spread to other parts of your mouth, including your teeth and gums, where they could undo the good you had done in brushing and flossing your teeth
  • Freshen your breath – your tongue has the biggest impact on your breath, so using a toothpaste to clean it thoroughly can help to improve your breath
  • Enhance overall oral hygiene by preventing the buildup of plaque and tartar, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Reduce the risk of the black tongue condition, which occurs when your tongue remains uncleaned for a long time, resulting in loss of saliva, a hairy appearance, and some other unpleasant issues – though not serious
  • Reduce the risk of yeast infections on your tongue and/or inner cheeks, which appear as light-colored lesions that form due to accumulation of bacteria inside the mouth. If a yeast infection occurs, you will need to use an antifungal treatment.
  • Increases sense of taste by removing bacteria, dead skin cells, and food debris on your tongue

Considerations when brushing tongue with toothpaste

There are several considerations to keep in mind when brushing with toothpaste to ensure optimal oral hygiene and prevent potential damage to the tongue. Some of the key considerations include:

Choice of toothpaste

When brushing your tongue with toothpaste, it is important to choose a paste that will ensure optimal oral hygiene and prevent potential damage to the tongue. Some key factors to consider when choosing one include:

  • Antibacterial properties – Antibacterial toothpastes can be effective at killing bacteria on the tongue and reducing bad breath. Examples of popular antibacterial toothpastes include Colgate Total, Crest Pro-Health, and Listerine Antiseptic.
  • Flavor – The flavor of the toothpaste can impact the effectiveness and overall experience of brushing your tongue. Some popular flavors include mint, cinnamon, and wintergreen.
  • Gentle formula – A gentle formula is important to prevent irritation or damage to the tongue. Some toothpastes, such as Sensodyne or Colgate Sensitive, are specifically designed for people with sensitive teeth and gums and can be suitable for brushing the tongue.
  • Alcohol-free: Toothpastes with alcohol can cause dryness and irritation to the tongue. Alcohol-free toothpastes, such as Biotene or CloSYS, can be a good alternative.
  • Whitening properties: You should be careful when brushing your tongue with a toothpaste that is formulated to help whiten teeth, since some may contain abrasive ingredients that might irritate or injure your tongue.

Brushing technique

It is important to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a gentle brushing motion when brushing your tongue with toothpaste. Brushing too hard or using a toothbrush with stiff bristles can cause irritation and damage to the tongue. The following are steps you can follow to ensure effective and safe tongue brushing:

  • Wet your toothbrush with water, then squeeze a pea-sized amount of toothpaste onto the bristles.
  • Stick your tongue out as far as you can, and hold it with one hand. This will help to keep it stable and make brushing easier.
  • Start at the back of the tongue and gently brush the surface in a back-to-front motion. Brush the sides of the tongue and the tip, using circular motions.
  • After brushing your tongue, swish some water and rinse your mouth thoroughly to remove any toothpaste residue.
  • Rinse your toothbrush properly with clean water to remove any toothpaste and bacteria and leave it to dry

Timing

Cleaning your tongue should be done after brushing your teeth, as this allows the toothpaste to remain in contact with the tongue for an extended period of time, maximizing its effectiveness. That said, you can choose whether to brush your tongue before or after brushing your teeth. Both methods should offer the benefits of brushing your tongue.

Frequency

Brushing your tongue with toothpaste should be done on a daily basis to maintain good oral hygiene. You can do it whenever you’re brushing your teeth, or even at other times of your day, like after consuming something unpleasant and you want to wipe the taste off of your tongue.

Alternative methods

In addition to brushing your tongue with toothpaste, tongue scraping and using mouthwash can also be effective ways to maintain good oral hygiene and reduce bad breath.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, brushing your tongue with toothpaste is an important aspect of maintaining good oral hygiene, but it is important to consider the type of toothpaste used, the technique employed, and the frequency of brushing to avoid potential damage to the tongue and ensure optimal oral hygiene. Additionally, exploring alternative methods of cleaning the tongue, such as tongue scraping and using mouthwash, may be useful to find the best method for maintaining good oral hygiene.

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  • Editorial team

    A team comprising oral health care professionals, researchers, and professional Writers, striving to impart you with the knowledge to improve your oral health, and that of your loved ones. 

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