Taking good care of your tongue is as important as taking care of your teeth. Good care of the tongue and teeth are necessary criteria for your oral health. Your tongue helps you chew, swallow, taste, and speak. Your tongue also holds a lot of the bacteria that stays in your mouth. So, it is very important you care for it properly. 

Here are some simple steps to follow:

1. Remember to brush your tongue regularly while brushing your teeth, the surface of your tongue is covered in tiny bumps called papillae which can trap bacteria. So, gently brush your tongue from the back of the mouth toward the front, using a downward motion. This will help get rid of the odor-causing bacteria in your mouth. But be aware that using too much pressure could cause damage to your tongue. You can also use a tongue scraper to clean your tongue.

2. Healthy diet helps your tongue stay in good shape. Eat a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. 

3. Drink lots and lots of water. Drinking water helps to wash away the bacteria and food debris from your tongue and teeth. So, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day, and especially after meals. Green tea has also been shown to eliminate oral bacteria that can cause odor and disease.

4. Paying attention to the color of your tongue is very important, it can help tell you about the health of your mouth. A pale tongue could mean a deficiency in vitamins. A thick white coating can indicate dehydration or fungal. A bright red tongue, on the other hand, could mean something more serious is going on like an infection or a blood or heart disorder. A healthy tongue should be light pink and might have a slight white coating. So, pay attention to your tongue color and schedule an appointment if you notice an unusual change in your tongue color.

5. Quit smoking! It can have a long-lasting impact on the health of your tongue. When you smoke, it impacts the shape of your papillae and makes them flatter. Once this damage occurs, these taste buds can never recover. Therefore, smoking can cause you to permanently lose some of your ability to taste and enjoy certain foods. Additionally, smoking can increase the likelihood of getting oral cancer. Cancer of the tongue often presents as a firm ulcer and can impact your speech and taste. 

How to care for your tongue