Why Your Child Should Brush Their Tongue

It’s important to work on establishing good oral hygiene habits while your child is young, including regular brushing and flossing. Since it’s often a struggle to get kids to take care of these tasks, you may not have thought beyond your child’s teeth to their tongue. Brushing is definitely important for preventing tooth decay and gum disease, but it’s not enough to get rid of most of the harmful bacteria found in your child’s mouth. You need to think beyond the teeth and gums to your child’s tongue.

The Importance of Cleaning the Tongue

Why is it so important for your child to clean his tongue regularly? The tongue is actually the part of the mouth that harbors most of the bacteria. Bacteria from your mouth and from the foods and drinks you take in can live and breed on the tongue’s rough surface. When your child brushes his teeth, it does eliminate the bacteria that adheres to dental enamel. However, all the bacteria left on the tongue can just transfer to the teeth once again in just a few hours.

Since the tongue has such a rough surface, bacteria can easily hide within the nooks and crannies of your tongue. When you remove this bacteria by brushing or otherwise cleaning the tongue, you prevent bacteria from spreading back to your teeth. Cleaning the tongue also helps to prevent problems with bad breath.

Brushing Techniques for Brushing the Tongue

After brushing the teeth, a toothbrush can then be used to gently brush the tongue. Since a thin layer of mucus often keeps food particles and bacteria trapped on the tongue. When you brush the tongue, use a little bit of toothpaste on the toothbrush and carefully brush the top of your tongue. Begin by brushing at the back of your tongue and then work the toothbrush forward. The entire top of the tongue should be brushed gently, and once you’re done, you need to rinse with water.

Using a Tongue Scraper

If you want to make sure that your child cleans the tongue even more thoroughly, then going with a tongue scraper is a great idea. Tongue scrapers are generally made out of flexible, soft plastic that works to gently scrape away the mucus-based layer of bacteria and debris from your tongue. It should be scraped across the tongue gently, slowly, and with light pressure. After every swipe of your tongue, it’s important to make sure it’s rinsed under warm water. If your child ends up with a sore tongue or a bleeding tongue, then too much force is being applied when the scraper is used. Since most of the odor-causing bacteria is actually found on the center of the tongue, scraping some especially concentrate on cleaning the center of the tongue.

How Often Should You Clean the Tongue?

How often should your child be cleaning his tongue, whether he brushes it or uses a tongue scraper? It’s a good idea to clean the tongue after every brushing. It’s a great way to wrap up a dental hygiene routine. However, at a minimum, the tongue should be cleaned twice a day – in the morning and before going to bed at night. Kids who have problems with a dry mouth may want to clean the tongue more often to help prevent problems. After cleaning the tongue, it’s a great idea to have kids use a good mouthwash rinse to kill additional bacteria while moisturizing the mouth.

Remember, ensuring your child has fresh breath and good oral health goes beyond simply brushing the teeth. It’s important to get your child in the habit of cleaning the tongue as well. This removes bacteria, improves oral health, and keeps breath fresh as well.

For more information on the best oral hygiene practices for your children or to set up an appointment for your child, give our office a call today at the practice closest to you. We’re happy to work with you and your child to ensure your child has a healthy, beautiful smile for life.