Tips for Teaching Children About The Importance Of Tongue Cleaning

Tongue Cleaner

It’s tough getting kids to brush their teeth, but parents face another challenge. Teaching children about the importance of tongue cleaning is sometimes even more difficult. Tongue cleaning is a vital component to maintaining excellent oral health in children! A clean tongue is part of good hygiene. 

Why Tongue Cleaning Matters

Particles of everything we consume end up in the tongue’s nooks and crannies. Bacteria in your mouth thrive here. Just think of how it looks after a grape drink! Everywhere you can see coloring from food is an example of all the places bacteria may thrive. 

Bacteria form quickly, accelerating tooth decay, causing bad breath, and even creating or worsening stomach ailments.

  • Hairy tongue: This occurs when there is a build-up of yeast and other bacteria. In other cases, the small bumps on the surface elongate and resemble hairs. These protrusions occur when hygiene or diet choices don’t exfoliate the tongue.
  • Geographic tongue: This condition is an inflammatory condition. It occurs when the tongue is missing the small pink bumps. These patches are smooth and red areas with raised borders. It is not known what causes this, but good hygiene doesn’t hurt!
  • GI disease: Oral bacteria can lead to gastrointestinal disease. Harmful bacteria in your mouth can lead to intestinal distress and, in some cases, even lead to gut and oral cancer. 
  • Gum disease: With large amounts of bacteria, the chances of the gums getting infected are high. Gingivitis is an inflammatory condition of the gums due to bacteria. As this progresses, it can lead to the loss of teeth.
  • Oral cancer: Bacteria may destroy the tissue in the mouth over time. These tissues can become cancerous or cause tumors. 

How To Clean

Kids should brush their tongues vigorously each day with a cleaning tool, such as a tongue brush or scraper. The process of keeping a tongue clean includes the following:

  • With a tongue brush: Brush actively and as far back on the tongue as possible, pressing down firmly. Rinse thoroughly, then clean the brush with hot water and store it upright, so moisture drains away.
  • With a scraper: Start with the device as far back on the tongue as possible, then bring it forward while pressing down, pulling forward particles and bacteria-containing film. Repeat two or three times, rinse thoroughly, then clean the scraper with hot water. Store it in an upright position.

But how do we get our kids to clean their tongues? Here are a few tips:

  • Make sure your children know that a dirty tongue is a leading cause of bad breath. Kids don’t want bad breath, and tongue brushing or scraping is an excellent way to prevent it.
  • Make tongue cleaning part of their teeth brushing routine.
  • Let them know a dirty tongue can lead to cavities, which might mean an extra trip to the dentist.
  • Let them see you do it! You can make a big impact by showing them you clean your tongue regularly, too.

Tongue cleaning often triggers the gag reflex in people of all ages. Some ways to help your kids from gagging includes:

  • Minimize gagging by teaching them to stick their tongue out as far as possible while cleaning.
  • Let them see gagging is normal by showing that it happens to you when you clean your tongue, too.
  • Make a game of it! “How far back can you go?” Encourage them and applaud their efforts.

Every child needs guidance and supervision to stay in good dental health. It’s important to make tongue cleaning a regular part of your dental hygiene expectations.

To schedule a dental care treatment for your child, give Snodgrass-King in TN a call. Our offices are located conveniently in Cool Springs, Murfreesboro, Mt. Juliet, and Spring Hill, Tennessee.