Some of these bacteria are beneficial to maintaining the health of our mouth. Others are more damaging and produce toxins which can lead to tooth decay, gum inflammation, tooth loss, bad breath (halitosis) and issues in other parts of the body.
We are all aware of the importance of brushing and flossing to keep our teeth clean. Many of us also use mouthwash or “oil pull” to maintain a fresh mouth. But what about the tongue?
What do we do to clean our tongue and why is this important?
The tongue is the first major organ to come into contact with food. It also coveys our sense of taste, as well as allowing us to chew our food and speak!
The white coating we often see on the tongue (particularly first thing in the morning) is a mixture of food, digestive toxins and bacteria. Many of these bacteria produce sulphur which can cause bad breath.
In Eastern medicine it is believed that the tongue mirrors the state of our digestive system.
Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medical system believes that when we are sleeping the digestive tract diffuses toxins out of the lower digestive organs. These toxins, in the form of mucous, migrate up through the lining of the gut and into the mouth. This can then settle as a coating on the tongue. Therefore, the tongue is a good indicator of how compromised our digestive system is. Bad breath (particularly in the morning) can certainly tell us something about the state of our digestive system, not just our mouths!