You will hear your pediatric dentist in Long Island talk a lot about how important it is for your little one to brush and floss his teeth every day to protect them against cavities. But did you know that he should also brush his tongue, as well as his teeth? The truth is, kids and adults who don’t brush their tongue regularly are putting their teeth and overall oral health at risk.
Our tongues may not seem that fascinating, but to your pediatric dentist in Long Island, these muscles are actually quite interesting and important. Not only are our tongues one of the strongest muscles in our bodies, but they also help us do many useful everyday tasks such as speak, chew, and swallow. Tongues also have about 10,000 taste buds that allow us to taste every bit of our favorite foods. But these taste buds are also really great places for bacteria to hide. If those bacteria are not removed regularly, they can start to negatively affect oral health.
Our tongues are made up of tons of tiny bumps called papillae. These papillae create peaks and valleys on our tongues and give bacteria the perfect place to settle. If the bacteria aren’t removed, it can cause some unwanted side effects such as:
It’s important that your child brushes his tongue every time he brushes his teeth. This will give him the cleanest mouth. But it’s important to note that he doesn’t need to scrub his tongue hard, and, in fact, shouldn’t. A gentle brushing from the back of the tongue to the front and from side-to-side will do just fine. However, patients with a strong gag reflex may have trouble with this method. If this is the case, try using a tongue scraper that you can buy at any pharmacy. It’s just as effective as brushing but may not trigger the gag reflex as much as a toothbrush.
Making sure that your child brushes his teeth, as well as his tongue, is crucial for caring for overall oral health. Of course, seeing your pediatric dentist in Long Island at least every six months is also necessary to further protect against decay and cavities.
If it’s been longer than six months since your child’s last visit, we welcome you to schedule an appointment today.