A common reason people brush their tongue is to eliminate bad breath, but tongue brushing can have many other health benefits (oral and otherwise) that you may not be familiar with. Take a look at some of the lesser-known health benefits that come with brushing your tongue.
Improves sense of taste
You may have noticed that your tongue has a thick white coating from time to time - this white film is essentially a toxic buildup of any food you may have sampled throughout the day and is the reason your taste buds can appear dulled. Scrape away at this thick white coating on your tongue, and you'll allow yourself to taste delicate nutrients and subtle flavours in food as opposed to a general taste - making your food more enjoyable as you allow your taste buds to function at full capacity.
Fights tooth decay and plaque
As long as your teeth are squeaky clean, you've won the daily war against oral bacteria, right? Wrong. The tongue is a moist breeding ground of bacteria and by ignoring it, you are letting harmful microorganisms travel towards your teeth and gums and wreak havoc. By brushing the tongue thoroughly for 2 minutes each morning (and especially children's tongues), you can significantly reduce the amount of plaque that is responsible for much of the damage that weakens teeth and gums such as cavities and gingivitis.
Prevents colds and discourages stomach disorders
The white coating that appears on the tongue is another form of toxins that need to be excreted from the body. Leaving these toxins to fester on the tongue will mean that this is sent back into your body when you swallow. Taking the time to scrape this film of bacteria off the tongue each morning will prevent toxic reabsorption, which can help stave off colds and even major risks to health such as stroke, heart disease and stomach ulcers. This is because tongue brushing removes bacteria from the source and prevents it from travelling down your throat where bacteria can enter the bloodstream. Once there, it can potentially contribute to indigestion, stomach ulcers and strep throat.
Stimulates your organs
The tongue's nerve endings are incredibly responsive to stimulation. In the same way that massaging the hands and feet can stimulate blood flow and improve organ function, brushing and scraping your tongue can have a similar effect. Brushing the tip of your tongue, for example, will stimulate your heart whilst scraping the sides of your tongue can stimulate your liver, gall bladder and spleen. Your tongue isn't just a tool for swallowing, tasting and altering speech, it also houses a pretty remarkable map of your internal organs, according to traditional Chinese medicine. Your tongue's appearance can be a good indication of your health, so it's wise to do a regular mirror check to become familiar with what is and what isn't normal for your tongue.
Have a sudden urge to cleanse your tongue after reading this? A good place to start is by booking an appointment with your dentist who may refer you to a dental hygienist for a professional assessment of your tongue. Based on your diagnosis, a specialist will be able to advise you on appropriate tongue scraping tools and methods for your tongue's shape and condition.