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While many people concentrate on maintaining healthy teeth, most overlook one of the most important parts of their oral health—their tongue! That’s why we’ve gathered these five important facts that you should know to keep your tongue in good health.

1. Your tongue also needs to be brushed.

Did you know that your tongue can also collect bacteria? In fact, if not kept clean, you can experience bad breath, loss of taste, and even changes in the color of your tongue! However, you can avoid these issues by cleaning your tongue at least twice a day. Your toothbrush will do a sufficient job, but you might also consider using a tongue scraper to remove the residue off of the surface of your tongue. Just don’t forget to get the back of the tongue and those hard-to-read places!

2. A healthy diet goes a long way.

Your tongue is a muscle. And just like with your other muscles, a healthy diet is critical to keeping your tongue strong. We recommend trying foods with known anti-microbial properties, such as chopped onions, garlic, ginger, and coconuts. This will help you to fight the harmful bacteria that resides on your tongue. You might also consider adding iron-rich foods into your diet. Try eating spinach, red meat, seafood, and poultry for an added boost to your tongue’s health.

3. Staying hydrated is key.

Did you know that dehydration can cause problems for your tongue’s health? When you don’t drink enough water, your body halts the production of saliva. Saliva is your body’s natural way of removing harmful bacteria from the mouth that can cause tooth decay, halitosis (bad breath), and more. Therefore, to keep your tongue in good shape, try to drink around two liters of water per day.

4. Smoking is very harmful to the tongue.

Smoking can be quite dangerous for your health—including the health of your tongue! Firstly, smokers are more likely to get oral cancer. Cancer of the tongue often manifests as a firm crater and can make it quite painful to speak. Secondly, smoking can make it more difficult for you to enjoy your favorite foods. Studies have shown that tobacco products can permanently change the shape of your taste buds—making them flatter— and make it more difficult for you to taste bitter foods and beverages like coffee.

5. Visiting your dentist every six months is highly recommended.

Getting a regular dental check-up is critical to maintaining your oral health. According to the American Dental Association, you should visit your dentist at least once every six months. This will allow your dentist to check for any oral health issues—such as cancer of the tongue—and receive a thorough professional cleaning.

Do you want to schedule your next check-up? Contact Downtown Dental today!