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You’ll hear a lot about brushing your teeth when you have braces or Invisalign. In addition to flossing, your regular teeth-brushing habits should also include brushing your tongue. Though not everyone is used to brushing their tongue, there are a surprising number of advantages to making it a regular practice.

Avoid Bad Breath

We’ve all been there. You start a conversation with someone only to find yourself detecting an unpleasant odor wafting in your direction. The last thing you want is to repel people due to your own bad breath. Unfortunately, bad breath is a common byproduct of having braces and Invisalign, usually due to dryness in the mouth. In addition to drinking water and brushing your teeth often, you can combat bad breath by brushing your tongue. Most of the bacteria that cause bad breath reside on your tongue. So when you take the time to brush it, you help freshen your breath.

Reduce Your Risk of Oral Thrush

Another benefit of brushing your tongue is the reduced risk of oral thrush. What exactly is oral thrush and why should you avoid it? Oral thrush is an infection on the tongue that results from an overgrowth of yeast on the tongue, causing unsightly white patches along with irritation.

In some cases, it can get bad enough to require antifungal medication to cure. Needless to say, you probably don’t want fungus on your tongue. By brushing your tongue regularly, you can wash away harmful microbes that cause these kinds of infections.

Enjoy Food More

One thing many people don’t realize is that thoroughly cleaning out your mouth helps you enjoy food more. Bacterial buildup on your tongue can actually dull your sense of taste. When you brush your tongue and remove this bacteria buildup, you’ll cleanse your palette and be able to take in the full flavor of the food you’re eating.

Avoid Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

While brushing your teeth and flossing both get rid of bacterial buildup on your teeth and gums, you’ll still have bacterial buildup on your tongue if you don’t take the time to brush your tongue as well. As you go about your day, the remaining bacteria buildup mixes with your saliva, leaving your teeth and gums exposed. So not only does brushing your tongue help reduce the risk of bad breath and infection, it also improves oral health overall and reduces your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

How to Brush Your Tongue

Ideally, you should gently brush your tongue from back to front to guide the residue forward and off your tongue. You can also purchase specially designed plastic tongue scrapers that swiftly remove mucus and bacterial buildup from your tongue.

To learn more about best practices for oral hygiene with braces or Invisalign, and to see if orthodontic treatment could be right for you, schedule a free consultation with Charleston Orthodontic Specialists today!