The short answer to this question is yes. You absolutely should pay attention to your tongue during oral hygiene and when performing self-examinations for oral cancer. Our family dentistry practice provides oral cancer screenings, professional dental cleanings, and general care so that you can enjoy optimal oral health. If it’s time for a checkup with our dentist, give our practice a call to schedule an appointment.
Why Your Tongue Shouldn’t Be Ignored
The tongue is an integral part of oral anatomy. Besides providing us with the ability to taste, our tongues also assist with digestion by pushing food to the biting surfaces of teeth. Without our tongues, there are certain sounds and words that we would be unable to pronounce.
Like our teeth, the tongue is susceptible to harboring bacterial growth. In fact, our tongues are home to 50% of the oral bacteria in our mouths. This means that cleaning your tongue when you brush and floss your teeth is essential to controlling bacterial growth, managing bad breath, and reducing the risks for dental caries and gum disease.
How to Clean Your Tongue
There are a couple ways you can clean your tongue. The most common way is to simply brush it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste when you brush your teeth. If you prefer not to brush your tongue, you can buy a tongue scraper. This is a dental hygiene tool that removes the film from plaque. As with any oral hygiene tool, look for the ADA seal of acceptance when making purchases.
Your Tongue and Oral Cancer
Oral cancer can form anywhere on the soft tissues of the oral cavity such as the linings of the lips and cheeks or the tongue. During checkups at our family dentistry practice, our dentist will look for signs of oral cancer.
In addition to keeping routine appointments, you should perform self-checks for oral cancer at home. Typical signs of oral cancer include sores that are slow to heal, discoloration of soft tissue, the formation of lumps, and difficulty swallowing and speaking.
We are accepting new patients. Call the office of Dr. Barry Buchanan today to schedule a checkup or cleaning.