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You may consider yourself an expert of oral hygiene. You brush, you floss, you use mouthwash. But do you brush your tongue? If not, your oral health might be lacking. You may not have learned this at school, but there are some serious reasons why you need to be brushing your tongue. It seems like NBD, but trust us, it’s a bathroom habit you don’t want to miss out on. Brushing your tongue daily can improve your overall health, particularly your oral health, by a lot.

Whether you use your toothbrush, a tongue scraper, a metal spoon (seriously!) or the weird rubbery thing on the backside of your toothbrush head, getting that tongue brushed will do you wonders. Add the ritual into your morning and nighttime toothbrushing routine, and we think you’ll notice a difference in the way your mouth, and possibly your body, feels.

1It gets rid of bad breath and bacteria

The main reason you should brush your tongue is to get rid of the nasty bacteria that causes halitosis, which is more commonly known as bad breath. According to the Dental Care Partnership, the majority of bacteria in your mouth lives on your tongue, and if you’re just brushing your teeth while ignoring that tongue bacteria, then those little guys can reek havoc (get it?).

If left alone, the bacteria on your tongue can transfer to your teeth, which pretty much cancels out the brushing you just did. So do yourself — and those around you — a favor by scraping all that junk off your tongue. You might notice that people aren’t offering you as many breath mints throughout the day!

2It prevents tooth decay

Like we mentioned before, the bacteria on your tongue can easily transfer to your teeth when left alone to fester in your mouth. That bacteria will eat away at your teeth and gums, which can eventually cause tooth decay or gingivitis. No matter how often you brush and floss, ignoring the tongue makes all that hard work come to naught.

It’s an extra step to add to your oral hygiene routine, but it’s a small price to pay, because taking care of your tongue can literally help you save face later down the road.

3It keeps stomach ailments at bay

If you struggle with indigestion on a daily basis, brushing or scraping your tongue could be the remedy you’re looking for. The same goes for upset stomachs or even stomach ulcers. Lingering tongue bacteria travels down the throat and esophagus and ends up in your gut. Sounds kinda gross, right? This can cause that uncomfortable acid to flare up at random times throughout the day. Cue the heartburn.

To better your chances of getting rid of that acidity, brush your teeth and tongue before you eat or drink anything in the morning. When you eat and drink, the food and liquid carries the bacteria into your stomach. So if you can avoid that transfer altogether with a simple brush or scrape, then why not do it?

4It stimulates your internal organs

According to the Savory Lotus healthy living blog, your tongue reflects what’s going on with your internal organs. There are certain points on the tongue that directly correlate to specific organs in the body. By taking a look at your tongue everyday, you can notice when parts of it are inflamed or look different in comparison to other parts. This might be a sign that something is going on inside.

Check out Katja from Savory Lotus’s tongue map to learn which part of the tongue correlates to each organ. Katja also shares that scraping your tongue everyday can actually stimulate your organs and give them a kickstart, similar to the results you get from acupuncture or acupressure.

5It helps out your immune system

Similar to preventing bacteria from entering your stomach, brushing your tongue can also eliminate bacteria that carries viruses and illness. When you start to feel that tickle or scratchiness at the back your throat, brush your tongue and rinse with mouthwash.

Your immune system will thank you for having its back and avoiding sickness before it strikes. If you keep up the tongue-brushing habit, you might notice you’re not getting sick as often as you were before. Oral health is not just the key to attaining a white smile and minty fresh breath. It’s also the key to keeping your entire body healthy and happy!

At the end of the day, the pros of brushing your tongue greatly outweigh the cons. In fact, the only con of brushing your tongue is that it takes an extra ten seconds each day to do. But once you start, you’ll find it hard to stop. Because when it’s feeling cleaner, fresher, and healthier, your mouth can’t help but be in a contagiously good mood.