Yes, the lowly tongue, why devote an entire blog post to discussing your tongue? There’s lots to say so keep on reading!
#1. We discussed tongue cleaning last week but it is worth a review, in case you might have missed my musings. Everyone brushes their tongue. I get that. But, has any hygienist ever shown you how to clean your tongue, I mean, really clean it? What do I do differently? I hand my patients a mirror and have them watch while I “de-plaque” it with a tongue scraper. And even though everyone does tell me they brush their tongue, I still pull off an incredible amount of plaque, debris bacteria, and “gunk” off their tongue. Think of your tongue as a sponge filled with bacteria, plaque, and debris. Rubbing only the top of it does little to nothing to the gunk below the surface. Place the tongue scraper back on your tongue as far as you can. Pull the scraper forward, squeezing the plaque and debris out of the tongue follicles. Yes, just like squeezing a pimple. Disgusting visual – sorry… but keep scraping until there is no more white stuff coming up on your scraper. Forget about brushing your tongue and instead, invest in a good metal tongue scraper.
: Tongue Sweeper and Tongue Mates.
In a pinch, flip over a spoon and use that metal edge. Clean your tongue twice daily – both AM and PM. Be gentle, it should not hurt and your tongue should not bleed. I promise your mouth will stay cleaner, breath will improve, and you’ll have much less tartar build up on your teeth. Sweet breath, clean teeth- all from scraping your tongue twice daily- that’s a bargain!
#2. Tongue Tied? Is your child? Do you know? Being tongue tied means the tongue can not move freely and is tethered to the floor of the mouth by a band of tissue called a frenum. Does it matter? It sure does. Let’s do a experiment first. Try eating, swallowing, talking, or kissing with your tongue held tightly behind your lower front teeth. Not much fun, is it? Now you can see that it matters, greatly! Babies who are tongue tied can not nurse properly, they can not latch on, and this can lead to a whole host of problems. Reflux, colic, gas, and gastric distress, in addition to inadequate food intake are the result. People of all ages with a short frenum have a tongue thrusting problem. This causes the tongue to move forward with swallowing instead of the proper up motion. This forward motion causes the jaw to develop narrowly, creates an open bite, and even creates loose front teeth. In a healthy situation, the tongue is suppose to rest on the roof of the mouth where it acts like a dental appliance and creates a nice full arch. If you are tongue tied, you can not get the tongue to the roof of the mouth so instead the jaw grows into a narrow arch, resulting in crowded front teeth, and a high roof of the mouth. Being tongue tied can cause speech problems, difficulty swallowing food, and air swallowing. Even more of a concern is the difficulty breathing it creates, which can lead to snoring, sleep apnea, and maybe even bed wetting into puberty. It’s an easy problem to fix with a simple clip of the frenum. For lots more information go to Dr. Brian Palmer’s
website. Talk with your dentist.
#3. Burning tongue and burning mouth are far too common a complaint. For those that suffer from it, it is a constant problem and they desperately seek relief. The cause – the most common theme I come across is a vitamin deficiency
(calcium, phosphate, magnesium, B12, B9, and iron) coupled with a dry, acidic mouth. If you have burning tongue, see your physician and get some blood work and that physical you’ve been putting off. In the meantime, it may help if you address the dry mouth issues, even if you think you don’t have any. See “Elixir fixer for your dry mouth
” to find products to help you. Neutrsal
may be good rinses for you to use to soothe and remineralize your mouth. They are prescription items. Then it is time to bring the pH of your mouth up to neutral by using baking soda and water swishes, and a baking soda toothpaste. Work the wet baking soda between teeth with piksters or other interproximal brushes. Another good option is ozone oil or ozone gas. Not exactly tasty but effective. See my ozone article for more information on ozone.
are also good at raising the pH. And, lastly, introduce an oral probiotic like Evorapro
to establish good, healthy bacteria in your mouth. Relief may just be on the way!
So now you know more about the lowly, lovely tongue. Aren’t you glad you stayed? Tongue tied, burning or dirty – no more.
“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Thanks for reading and learning.
Questions? Comments? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Keep smiling!