Should you clean your tongue?

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Even if you brush and floss your pearly whites twice or thrice a day, you cannot think of going cavity-free. This is because the bacteria residing on the tongue are not being addressed. Cleaning your tongue is recommended as it is beneficial in fighting bad breath as well as maintaining good dental hygiene. The tongue is a very important structure in your oral cavity and needs to be kept clean from food debris. It is advised to pay maximum attention to cleanliness of your tongue. 

Why is cleaning the tongue important? 

The tongue is a muscular structure that has tiny bumps on it called as papillae and there are grooves between the papillae. These are the potential areas on the tongue where bacteria can build up. Bacteria, dead skin cells and food particles will settle on the tongue. This gets covered by a very fine layer of mucus which covers the entire tongue. The bacterium that gets trapped on the tongue creates bad breath and a whitish discoloration on the tongue. These bacteria can get deposited on to the gums and teeth, thus increasing the chances of plaque and tartar buildup.

Cleaning of the tongue should be made part of the daily regimen for the following reasons:

  • To remove the bacteria
    Tongue cleaning leads to removal of the bacteria and plaque that leads to gum disease. If this is not cleaned adequately, it can cause illness that can spread to other parts of the body. This improves the overall health of an individual.


  • Removal of bad breath
    The germs that causes bad odour settle on the tongue and produces bad breath in individuals with poor tongue hygiene.


  • Improve overall taste sensation
    By clearing the plaque and mucus layer formed on the tongue, the taste sensation improves. This will help you relish the food that you eat. The taste of food will increase with great intensity.



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Techniques to clean tongue

Just as you brush and floss your teeth, it is essential to follow a routine for tongue cleaning. It is best to make tongue cleaning a habit. The ideal time to clean the tongue is once in the morning and once in the evening. During the day, if any foul smell is noticed arising from the mouth then rinsing with mouthwash is advised as it kills the bacteria. This helps in maintaining a fresh smelling breath.

The technique used to clean tongue is important. It can be cleaned by brushing back and forth, side to side and by rinsing your mouth with water. It is important to take care not to over brush the tongue as it can cause a break in the skin of the tongue. The tongue scraper can be used to clean the tongue.

Cleaning your tongue is a very important daily routine that should to be followed. Just like brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, tongue cleaning should be cultivated as a habit. This extra level of care which is often overlooked helps you in maintaining good oral hygiene and health. 

Why do some people have crooked teeth and how do you fix them?

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Everyone wants to have a perfect smile that you see on models and people on television. But if you take a close look at people around you, you will see that people have crooked teeth more than the perfect straight.

What exactly are crooked teeth and its types?

Crooked teeth are those which are simply not the perfect straight ones. The pediatric dentist or orthodontist classify it mainly into broad categories of crooked teeth. They are crossbites and Class II malocclusion. Cross-bites are mainly seen very common among the kids. Cross-bites can also be classified into two categories.

  • Anterior cross-bite: This is most common due to thumb sucking where it results in the upper and the lower teeth are not meeting each other thereby leaving a gap. But the back teeth meet when bitten together. 

  • Posterior cross-bite: This is most common in mouth breathers and teeth are gapped with each other. 

And the Class II malocclusion is when the lower teeth are set far behind the upper ones. It is seen commonly in the mouth breathers. 

And the Class II malocclusion is when the lower teeth are set far behind the upper ones. It is seen commonly in the mouth breathers. 

Reasons for crooked teeth: 

  • Genetical development: Genetics is one of the most common reasons for crooked teeth. It is mostly related to the size of our mouth. Smaller the mouth, greater is the chance of crooked teeth. The jaw development, the skull and the vertebral bone involves the cranial disbalance. And hence raises as a factor for crooked teeth. However, misaligned jaws are the center of the facial growth and also leads to issues of the crookedness of teeth.

  • Imperfect habits: It is very commonly seen when breathed through mouth. The nasal breathing is mostly attached to the proper jaw and teeth development. The expansion of the maxilla and the upper jaw is by the normal breathing through the nose. But if we tend to breathe through the mouth and if it becomes a habit then the obstruction is created to increase the pressure in the airway of the nasal. At this point, it becomes utmost important to consult the doctor to have the breathing pattern corrected.

  • Incorrect lip and tongue posture: Poor lip and tongue posture is also a common reason for crooked teeth. Ideally, the lips should rest on each other but when it does not, its high time we must consult the doctor. 

  • Oral behavior: Thumb sucking and usage of pacifiers should mostly be restricted to avoid the crooked teeth.

    How to treat crooked teeth? 
    An orthodontist like Dr. Nizam would check the pattern of the teeth then she would recommend a solution with either braces or Invisalign. The treatment can be started at any age although there is a specific timing for the treatment duration. However, whenever you feel the first signs of crooked teeth, you should not make a delay in getting checked by a professional orthodontist. 

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Is Flossing really required?

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We get asked this question on a daily basis. Do I need to floss? Does floss really prevent decay? Does flossing really prevent gum disease? My parents’ don’t floss and their teeth and gums are fine.

One thing is for certain, all dental professionals will tell you that flossing is needed to maintain optimal gum health for all ages.

Brushing alone without flossing does not take care of all the areas on the mouth properly.

A toothbrush is used to remove the plaque from the surfaces of the teeth that you can see. So that means the biting surface, the tongue and palate surface, and the cheek and lip surface of the teeth. After brushing there is still 40% of tooth surface that is untouched and uncleaned. However when you are in braces, the brackets and the wires are in the way and prevent you from getting to even more tooth surface. This is why we then recommend the use of piksters to access the tooth surface under the wire and the sides of the brackets.

Surely My Teeth Must be Clean Now

If you think your teeth are clean after brushing and using a pikster, do me a favour and chew on a disclosing tablet. This will highlight the plaque that is stuck in between the teeth and at the gumline, which will look like a Y shape between the teeth. This is because it is nearly impossible to get a gigantic toothbrush and pikster brush in that tiny little space between the teeth. And guess what? That’s why we then recommend the use of floss.

But Why Floss?

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Floss is the only thing small enough to squeeze in between the teeth and go underneath the gum to remove the rest of the plaque that is present.

Some people say ‘but now you’re pushing plaque under the gum’. Well it is already there and by rubbing the floss up and down each side of each tooth, you’re loosening the plaque off the sides of the teeth so that it has the chance to be removed. If you don’t floss at all, there’s still going to be plaque stuck in between the teeth regardless.

Are some people just lucky and don’t need to floss? Well, yes. We do see people who hardly ever floss and don’t have decay between the teeth, and luckily for them they don’t have gum problems. But are you willing to risk it and hope that you are one of those people because they are few and far between.

At first flossing is a bit tricky, like all tasks the more you do it the better you become. Flossing properly should only take 2-3 minutes once you get the hang of it.