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 It’s Never too Late to Straighten Your Smile

Braces as an adult? No way. At least, that was what I thought when my dentist told me that I was going to have to see an orthodontist about my crooked teeth. But my teeth were so misaligned that they were causing me pain when I chewed, so I decided to at least look into it. Turns out braces today are nothing like the ones my friends had when I was a kid. Mine were practically invisible, and I didn't need to wear them that long. I started this blog to encourage other people like me who are nervous about the prospect of wearing braces as an adult. My straight smile is so worth the trips to the orthodontist, and wearing braces was nowhere near as bad as I thought. Read on to find out more about how you can straighten your smile.

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It’s Never too Late to Straighten Your Smile

Don't Leave Out Your Tongue From Your Dental Hygiene Routine

by Jacqueline Byrd

Ask many people about their dental care habits and few will mention doing anything with their tongue. Good dental hygiene consists of taking care of all of the structures in the mouth: teeth, gums and tongue. Learn why leaving your tongue out of your routine means that you're not doing the best dental hygiene you can.

What Your Tongue Does For You

Your tongue is essentially a large muscle that is used to move food around in your mouth and for speaking. It is covered with hundreds of small projections of tissue called papillae. These are the tiny bumps you see covering your tongue. They are the taste buds and salivary glands that allow you to taste your food. They are also places where bacteria can hide.

Your Tongue and Dental Problems

Your teeth are hard enamel surfaces which are hard for bacteria to stick to. Eating foods that etch the enamel, such as tomatoes or red wine, or eating food that sticks to the teeth are the ways bacteria can create plaque and cavities. Bacteria find it easier to stick to the rough surface of your tongue.

You can brush your teeth and floss to remove the bacteria from your teeth, but your tongue still maintains a bacteria population that can attack your teeth. Cleaning your tongue is the only way to thoroughly remove the risk of tooth decay.

Adding Tongue Cleaning to Your Routine

The two ways to clean the tongue are brushing and scraping. You can brush your tongue with your existing toothpaste and toothbrush while you brush your teeth. Don't brush hard and only a few times. Try to brush back as far as you can on your tongue. Brush the sides, too, but don't worry about getting under your tongue.  

Some people find brushing their tongue difficult because of their gag reflex. A tongue scraper may be used then. This is a flat tool that you pull along the surface of the tongue to physically scrape off material. Do this a few times, rinsing the tool in water between. Dentists can recommend a good scraper to use if your gag reflex won't allow you to brush your tongue.

If your tongue is coated, brushing and scraping will not remove this completely. Don't brush or scrape hard trying to get rid of the coating or you'll just irritate your tongue.

The bacteria on your tongue can contribute to tooth decay and is another reason for bad breath. Brush or scrape your tongue as part of your dental hygiene routine. You'll have a much more effective dental routine and fewer issues when you see your dentist.