Tongue or No Tongue?

I have never been a writer, never written a blog. I just never saw the point to posting myself out there to the world on the trials of my simple life. Then the day came when I saw a real need where I felt that my advice was needed and surprisingly sought for.

I say I’m a wife first, a mother second and a dental hygienist third. Those three titles are what make up my typical work week. So let’s add another activity to the list!

Now what can I say, some people were born to do a certain profession. I was one of the lucky few who were born into this profession.

My father is a Dentist, I was lucky enough to start working as a rover and sterilization assistant when I turned 15 years old. This began my 12 years of schooling into the profession that I have come to be passionate about.

So here it goes…

Tongue or no tongue; the first thing that comes to your mind as would anyone’s mind is the ideal sloppy Tom Cruise type of smooching action.  Well that’s part of the reason why I think the hygiene of the tongue should be discussed. The question I posed to the dental assistants I work with was, “Do you brush your tongue? And, if you do, how often?”

The answer was astonishing, especially for assistants trained on oral care instruction. Their answers were yes, phew!!!! But….they only did it once in a while. When I pressed them as to really how often, the truth came out that is was usually every other day. Now we all get a free pass on hygiene 101 of your tongue. So we are starting fresh on this topic.


Now I’m going to get a little technical about why, and trust me the research on this topic isn’t new. Granted it changes slightly every so often but the change is that the bacteria that lives on our tongue is much worse than originally thought.

This should give you more incentive to you now reformed tongue cleaning people out there. Every year we are correlating bacteria found in our mouth to aliments in our body.

Unclean + Tongue = Bad Breath

Now who is going to want to kiss anyone with Halitosis AKA dragon’s breath? Fact: No one. Now if you are going to start with, “I’ve tried everything and the smell doesn’t go away!” Fact 90% of malodor originates from the oral cavity; only 10% has systemic or non-oral causes. Which are: Renal or hepatic failure, Carcinomas, Diabetes, Upper respiratory; nasal passages, and Cirrhosis of the liver. (Wilkins 374)*.

Remember 90% of the time bad breath is preventable. Now to combat these foul odors pick your weapon of choice, the toothbrush and/or the tongue scraper.  My personal choice and favorite is the toothbrush. I have used them both and I personally have found the toothbrush to be more effective in removing “the white stuff” on my tongue. Your tongue should never have white film on it, if it does you need to get back there and scrub a little harder. Pink is the key pigmentation we are looking for.

I know I’m going to hear that some people gag so please leave your concerns and comments with questions regarding that.  The solution is simple, tough it out for a few seconds and get that tongue squeaky clean.

I can go on but I want to hear from you! After all, unwanted advice falls on deaf ears!

Until next time! Remember to BFR! (Brush, Floss, Rinse)
Your friendly Hygienist,
Anna Ayala RDH
Owner of Pristine Dental Hygiene Services (PDHS)

*Works cited
“Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist”, 11th ed., Esther M. Wilkins.

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