The tongue is one of the most overlooked parts of the mouth. You have probably been told many times not to neglect brushing your tongue when you clean your teeth. Despite being frequently forgotten, your tongue is very important. The tongue has three major functions. It assists with chewing food and pronouncing words properly along with providing sensations of taste.
Your Tongue May Indicate Potential Health Problems
If your tongue appears white, you may have a fungal infection present in your mouth. Infants and diabetics are especially susceptible to thrush—a form of a fungal infection. White spots on your tongue may also reveal a bacterial film. This is easily alleviated with proper oral hygiene. If your tongue appears yellow in color, it may indicate a digestive problem or a fever. A burning tongue may indicate auto-immune issues.
How Your Tongue Assists with Eating
The flexible front portion of your tongue helps move food throughout your mouth so that your teeth can chew it. The back portion of your tongue pushes chewed food toward your throat to aid in swallowing. Your tongue has thousands of taste buds which help you distinguish different flavors. In fact, around 90% of your taste buds are located on the tongue.
Why You Should Clean Your Tongue
Most of the bacteria in our mouth reside on our tongues. When you brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper, you help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth and freshen your breath. Your tongue also aids in cleaning food debris from your teeth. Keeping your tongue clean is important for maintaining a healthy mouth.
Dr. James Fondriest and our team at Lake Forest Dental Arts would like to encourage all of our patients to remember to clean their tongues. To schedule an appointment at our Chicago dentist office, contact us at (847) 234-0517. We serve patients from Lake Forest, Chicago and the surrounding areas.