In the back of the mouth, the tongue is anchored into the hyoid bone. The tongue is vital for mastication, taste, deglutition, articulation and oral cleansing. But oral health is about more than your teeth and gums. Your tongue also needs daily care and checkups.
Quick! Stick out your tongue and say…yuck? No one ever said tongues were pretty. And maybe that’s why they’re sometimes neglected when it comes to oral health. But your tongue is an important part of your mouth, and you should always include it in your hygiene routine. Here are four things you should know about keeping your tongue healthy:
1. Tongues need cleaning
Far from smooth, your tongue is covered in tiny bumps, called papillae. “The surface of the tongue can harbour a lot of bacteria,” says Dr. Euan Swan, dental programs manager at the Canadian Dental Association in Ottawa. In fact, a study at the University of Michigan’s School of Medicine discovered that about a third of the bacteria species found on people’s tongues weren’t growing on any other surfaces in their mouths.
Trapped germs on the tongue can lead to bad breath and affect your sense of taste, and the bacteria can travel to other parts of your mouth. Overgrowth of bacteria can turn your tongue yellow, white or even black and hairy-looking.
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