Some of you have heard your dentists at CrossKeys Dental tell you that you should be brushing your tongue when you brush your teeth, but why is that? Isn't the TOOTH brush made to clean TEETH? What could possibly be sticking to my tongue, cheeks and gums that will cause trouble? The answer, unfortunately, is "you don't even want to know!"  Here are 3 reasons to spend a few extra seconds on the soft tissues inside your mouth. 

1) Your oral cavity is simply full of nasty things that just love the warm, moist environment. I know... it even grossed me out a little to write that last sentence and I'm a dentist! I will leave you with this: plaque sticks to your teeth, but it also loves all of the little crevices on the top of the tongue. This is where hundreds of bacteria and fungi love to set up shop. Your immune system is good at keeping this from getting out of control, but the population still exists and brushing your tongue or using a tongue scraper will help eliminate most of the problem. If left unchecked, conditions like thrush can develop. This is not exclusively an infant's problem. 

2) The things you eat and drink can can stain your tongue too.  Habits like drinking coffee or tea, smoking, chewing tobacco or over-consumption of red wine will leave their mark on your tongue. In most cases adding tongue and cheek brushing to your routine will reduce this coloration within a few days. Of course, we don't ask you to change your life, so everything in moderation, with the exception of tobacco use! 

3) All of those nasty things from the first point are a major contributor to bad breath. Keeping them under control, along with an overall routine of good oral hygiene, will help keep your friends happy. Brushing, flossing and use of a mouth rinse will go a long way toward keeping you fresh and clean. 

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CrossKeys Dental is located at 110 CrossKeys Office Park in Fairport. Dr. DuPre` and Dr. Badali provide comprehensive family dentistry and are always welcoming new patients. Visit us atwww.CrossKeysDentalFairport.com for more information. Written by Vincent Badali, DDS