5 Terrifying Things That Could Happen If You Don’t Brush Your Tongue

It’s common knowledge that in order to keep your teeth healthy, you should brush them twice a day and floss once a day.

But unless you’re some sort of dental hero, there’s a good chance you forget to brush or floss once in a while.

Most of us probably assume we know how to brush properly — after all, what can be so hard about brushing your teeth?

In the most basic terms, the brush has to come in contact with all your teeth and brush away any leftover food and gunk. Once you’re done with the teeth brushing, you might choose to rinse with water or mouthwash.

And that’s it, right?

I definitely thought those were all the steps necessary to keep my mouth clean, but apparently I’ve been missing a very important step for years: brushing my tongue.

There are over 700 species of bacteria that live in your mouth. Because of the bumps and crevices on your tongue, lots of them stick to its surface!

Brushing your tongue might seem like an unnecessary step, but there are actually some disgusting things that can happen if you don’t brush or scrape your tongue.

Read below to find out why you should always be sure to brush your tongue!


Should You Brush Your Tongue?

should you brush your tongue?

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According to Women’s Health, your tongue is basically a sponge for bacteria.

Not only do they get stuck on it, the tongue also spreads those bacteria around the rest of your mouth.

Honestly, it’s pretty disgusting how many types of bacteria get stuck on your tongue. In order to keep your mouth as healthy as possible, you should brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth.

What Can Happen If You Don’t Brush Your Tongue?

what if you don't brush your tongue?

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Dental Care Partnership explains that most of the bacteria in your mouth are on your tongue. Besides living on your tongue, the bacteria also breed there.

The bacteria can make their way back onto your teeth within hours of brushing them.

If you don’t brush your tongue, you run the risk of harboring these bacteria on your teeth and tongue, which can cause breath, teeth, and gum problems.

1. Halitosis (Bad Breath)

bad breath

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The most common problem associated with not brushing your tongue is halitosis, or bad breath.

When bacteria make your tongue their home, they breed and grow, causing a bacterial spike that smells terrible.

According to Women’s Health, most of the bacteria that cause the stench stay around the back of your mouth, so it’s important to brush the back of your tongue in order to eliminate the odor-causing bacteria.

2. Yeast Infection In Your Mouth

mouth yeast infection

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Most women know that you can get yeast infections “down there,” but did you know that you can also get yeast infections in your mouth?

This is known as oral thrush, and it’s actually a yeast infection.

If you’ve ever had a vaginal yeast infection, you know how uncomfortable and awkward it can feel. Now, imagine that on your tongue!

When bacteria levels get out of whack in your mouth, the yeast that naturally grows there can build up too much.

When there’s too much yeast, you can get weird white patches on your tongue.

Luckily, you can clear up these yeast infections with antifungal medications. Brushing your tongue regularly can help stave off yeast infections.

3. Periodontal Disease

periodontal disease

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Not brushing your tongue can also lead to periodontal disease, since the bacteria on your tongue can transfer to your teeth.

When bacteria build up on your teeth, they can cause your gums to become red and inflamed.

If your gums aren’t treated properly, this inflammation can turn into periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is pretty scary. It can cause receding gums, infection, chronic inflammation, and it can even make your teeth fall out.

Additionally, periodontal disease is linked to higher risk of miscarriage, stroke, and heart attack, explains Women’s Health.

4. Duller Taste Buds

duller taste buds

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There’s nothing better than biting into a delicious meal, but if your taste buds are dull (like when you have a cold), your yummy food can taste pretty disappointing.

If you don’t brush your tongue, a biofilm of bacteria, dead skin cells, and old food particles can build up and cover your taste buds, making everything taste dull.

Once you start brushing your tongue, your full taste buds should come back.

5. A Hairy Black Tongue

black hairy tongue

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This one is definitely the scariest of all: a hairy black tongue is probably one of the most disturbing things I can think of.

According to Women’s Health, this occurs when the papillae — the little bumps on your tongue — get stained from things like coffee, cola, wine, and other dark foods and drinks.

If the stains aren’t brushed away, the tongue gets a dark, hair-like appearance. Although there are no actual hairs, your tongue will look fuzzy.

Other than the appearance, it’s actually harmless, and once you start brushing your tongue, you’ll notice it disappearing.

Benefits Of Tongue Scraping

tongue scraping

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According to Mind Body Green, tongue scraping is an oral hygiene practice that helps remove food debris, dead skin cells, bacteria, fungi, and toxins from the surface of the tongue.

Tongue scraping can help with a variety of health issues, including boosting your immune system, improving your dental health, getting rid of bad breath, and even helping your digestive health.

How To Clean Your Tongue

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Tongue scraping is pretty easy: you can use a tongue scraper, or even just a metal spoon.

All you have to do is pass the spoon or scraper over your tongue from back to front several times, rinsing off the tool afterwards.

You can do the same thing with your toothbrush, dragging it from back to front.

When using a toothbrush, you have to make sure not to accidentally brush any dirt further back into your mouth.

With any instrument, be careful not to scrape too hard against your tongue, or it could irritate it.

Will You Be Brushing Your Tongue From Now On?

brush your tongue

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Brushing your tongue every time you brush your teeth should help you start noticing the benefits!