5 Things That Happen When You Don't Brush Your Tongue

You brush your teeth after every meal and before going to sleep, and you believe that’s enough? But if you don’t spend a few minutes brushing your tongue, your oral health habits need to be changed.

Your tongue is like a sponge, which can contain bacteria, spread bad bacteria in your mouth and cause some diseases and health problems

“Not all of these microbes are harmful. But when the bad ones set up shop and multiply in the crevices around the papillae, or small bumps, on the surface of the tongue, they can inflict some real damage.” explains Tang, D.D.S., clinical professor of dentistry at New York University.

How’s that? Think of your tongue as a bacteria sponge, spreading bad bacteria throughout the mouth and causing problems and diseases, says Barbara L. McClatchie, founding member of the American Academy of Oral Systemic Health and owner of Complete Health Dentistry in Columbus, Ohio.

What problems will happen if you don’t brush your tongue everyday? Below is the answer for you.

Bad breath

“Bad breath is the number one problem associated with not brushing your tongue,” says Steve Cook, owner of Austin City Dental in Austin, Texas. How it happens: The bacteria making a home on your tongue begin doing what an overgrowth of bacteria everywhere do—give off a foul stank. The odor-causing bugs tend to lurk in the back of the tongue, he adds, which is why it is important to brush back there if you want to get rid of the funk.

Duller taste buds

When you don’t brush your tongue, a nasty coating of bacteria, food particles, and dead skin cells called a biofilm can cover up your taste buds, leaving your sense of taste less sharp, says McClatchie.

Black hairy tongue

This condition arises when the papillae on your tongue get stained from leftover food or drink particles, like coffee, and the particles are never brushed away. That gives the entire tongue a dark, furry appearance. It’s harmless, but it looks unhygienic and make you feel interior in communication. Therefore, you start tongue brushing, it should disappear.

Yeast infection

It can happen when the bacteria levels in your mouth are too high, and naturally occurring yeast grows out of control. “The result: white patches on the tongue, and the oral cavity will be yeast infection ”, says McClatchie. An antifungal medication can cure it, and regular tongue brushing should keep it from returning.

Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is a disease of tissues that support around the teeth, including gums, ligaments and alveolar bones.

If you brush your teeth but don’t brush the tongue, bacteria buildup on your tongue can spread to your teeth, causing gingivitis, or red, inflamed gums. If it’s not treated, the inflammation can advance to periodontal disease. Your teeth may fall out, but even more worrisome is that the chronic inflammation caused by periodontal disease is linked to a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, and miscarriage, says McClatchie.

By now, you’ll probably want to give your tongue a good scrubbing. Here’s the right way to do it: Starting at the back of the tongue, gently brush toward the front, then go side-to-side.

“You don’t have to use toothpaste, but it’ll probably feel more comfortable, and the abrasiveness of toothpaste can help make cleaning more effective. Do it at least once a day for a few minutes in order to clean your tongue.”,  says McClatchie.