The average human mouth is teeming with bacteria. In fact, did you know that even in a clean mouth, just one tooth might have up to 100,000 bacterial organisms living on it? But bacteria and fungi don't just live on your teeth; they live and proliferate on your gum tissue and tongue too. And if you allow them to, those organisms will give you bad breath and increase your risk of gum disease!
Gum Disease–Causing Bacteria Thrive on Your Tongue
Just like all areas of your mouth, both beneficial and harmful bacteria can thrive on your tongue when conditions are right. What are the right conditions for harmful bacteria? The bad strains of bacteria, such as Treponema denticola, which cause bad breath and live in dental plaque, thrive in unclean conditions. In other words, they're happy if you don't brush your teeth or tongue regularly.
Unfortunately, bacterial strains like the aforementioned Treponema denticola can lead to gum disease. This happens when you allow plaque, where bacterial organisms most like to live, to accumulate on your teeth and gums. Because plaque contains harmful strains of bacteria and their waste products, not to mention food debris and other compounds, it irritates your gums.
Mild gum disease presents as inflamed and swollen gum tissue around your teeth. This inflamed tissue might also bleed when you brush your teeth or eat certain foods. However, if you continue to allow plaque to accumulate on your tongue, gums and teeth, the once sticky plaque will harden and turn into tartar. This tartar may then invade the gum pockets around your teeth.
When tartar finds its way under your gums, you have the more severe form of gum disease: periodontitis. Don't allow things to get that bad.
Brushing Your Tongue Removes Bacteria and Reduces Plaque
How do you know when you have high levels of bacteria and plaque on your tongue? You will see a white coating on your tongue's surface. A healthy tongue should be a pleasant shade of pink. Fortunately, this film is easy to remove with a toothbrush or tongue scraper. And research proves that by brushing or scraping your tongue morning and night, your plaque levels drop.
Less plaque means fewer bacterial organisms and a reduced risk of you suffering from gum disease. Do you forget to brush your tongue as well as your teeth morning and night? Is your tongue often white, not pink? Then start brushing your tongue, and your mouth will become a healthier, happier place, where good bacteria can thrive. For more information, reach out to dentists near you.