Dental hygienists and dentists often emphasize to their patients that it is necessary to clean not only teeth and interdental spaces, but also a tongue. A patient after such words often raises a question, what tongue plaque means, why and when tongue should be cleaned.


More than 700 types of microorganisms live in a mouth. It means that a mouth is not the cleanest place of our body. Oral microbes also live on teeth, especially near the neck of teeth, on mucous membrane and on the tongue. Tongue back is wide and with different wrinkles on it, so it is a very convenient place to buildup plaque and bacteria. After some time, bacteria living on a tongue cause dental and gum diseases, such as caries, gingivitis, periodontitis. So it is very not only to remove tongue plaque, but also to clean such mouth places where plaque can stay for a longer time and to reproduce.

5 reasons to clean the tongue

  1. Reduces bad breath. Tongue cleaner removes bacteria, food leftovers, fungus and dead cells, so mouth breath improves instantly. It is more appropriate to clean the tongue with tongue cleaner rather than toothbrush, because it cleans wider space and is more convenient to use.
  2. Improves the taste. After removing plaque tongue surface exposes and taste receptors become “more sensitive”. It gives more pleasure while eating food products. Ayurveda teaches that the more pleasure we gain from food, the better the food is digested and absorbed, and that in turn results in better overall health.
  3. Removes toxins accumulations. During the sleep our bodies detoxifies. Plaque on the tongue contains a huge amount of toxins released by the body. As the toxins are released, we don’t want to return them to the body again. If we don’t want that, the tongue cleaning should be a ritual of every morning. It is also a way to improve your health and immune system.
  4. Improves dental and oral health. By removing bacteria and toxins from the tongue, we improve our dental health, our teeth and gum become healthier. Bacteria removed with tongue cleaner are responsible for periodontitis problems, accumulation of plaque, caries, dental recession and may even cause teeth loss.
  5. Helps to better know the tongue and to monitor its changes. Did you know that the tongue is like a mirror, which reflects conditions of your internal organs? Tongue is like a body map that can reveal how different organs are functioning. When you are cleaning your tongue in the morning, you should observe it. Besides, by cleaning your tongue you massage corresponding internal organs. Tongue cleaning with cleaner equals to a spot massage or acupuncture.

In some cases, (when having comprised immune system or certain chronic disease) microbes accumulated on the tongue can cause tongue infections or fungus. Dentists evaluating patient’s oral condition also check and evaluate the tongue, its color, moistness and nipples atrophy. Plain and red tongue is the symptom of anemia, raspberry color indicates the symptoms of scarlet fever and severe infections. Tongue with greyish white plaque may be the sign of digestive disorders (such as stomach inflammation or other kind of pathologies of gastrointestinal tract).

It said that to adapt new habit needs 21 days. To learn to clean tongue may take longer, but it is possible and is not very hard. It is important a level of patient’s motivation, to explain properly why he should perform this procedure every day. And it is not a difficult task to do. The tongue may be cleaned with the same toothbrush as used to clean teeth. You also can use special products – scraper or cleaner. Some tops of toothbrushes are rougher in order to better remove plaque from the tongue.

  • How to clean? liezuvio-valiklis-1-261x199

Cross several times from tongue root towards its tip, then wash your brush or scrapper and repeat the procedure again. If the procedure is unpleasant or causes kecking, try to take a breath when cleaning the tongue. You can use toothpaste in order to remove plaque more effectively.

  • Worth to know

If you often eat rare green food – fruits and vegetables and especially harder products such as nuts and while eating you chew thoroughly, less plaque would accumulate on the tongue, it will be healthier and cleaner.

Mass media does not pay such attention to tongue disease as to periodontitis or caries, flue or cold viruses. It is dentists and oral hygienists who talk about it more. It is very important to get used to clean tongue every day in order to avoid additional disease which are caused by tongue plaque.

Prepared by dental hygienist Diana Stonkutė