Will cleaning your tongue help reduce the risk of heart disease, arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases?

Nov 18 2020

Scientific literature continues to highlight the connection between the health of our mouths and the health of our bodies. For example, there has been extensive research on the profound impact that oral health can have on health risks such as heart disease.

It’s all about balance

Your mouth and the rest of your body are inextricably connected, which means what happens in the mouth can influence every other part of your body as well.  Each person is really an entire ecosystem of microbes and human cells engaged in a beautiful genetic dance. In order to thrive, we must be good stewards of the various microbes that make up our bodies, and not allow them to become out of balance.

What does this have to do with cleaning the tongue?

The mouth is home to many microbes- they live on and between our teeth, as well as on our tongue. These microbes are a healthy and normal thing. However, microbes also make up plaque, and can cause cavities and bad breath. 

If we allow plaque (biofilms of microbes) to stay on our teeth and tongue, they mature and get thicker. And that’s where the trouble starts.

While it’s normal and healthy to have small amounts of microbes living in our mouths, thick biofilms that sit on our teeth and tongue become anaerobic (low-oxygen) environments, and this change allows other, pathogenic (disease-causing) microbes to flourish. These anaerobic microbes can cause an inflammatory cascade in our immune system, affecting areas of our body far beyond our mouth.

How could tongue cleaning lower the risk of heart disease (and other inflammatory conditions)?

The tongue plays a vital role in introducing new material into our entire GI tract (our digestive system). So, maintaining a thin biofilm on the tongue is important if we want to avoid continuously harboring and swallowing inflammation-causing microbes. This means we need to regularly clean our tongue and make sure the biofilm there does not thicken and begin to cause negative effects like inflammation.

Why brushing the tongue isn’t cleaning the tongue

Brushing the tongue is somewhat helpful, but it’s just not as thorough as cleaning (scraping) the tongue. Scraping the tongue is more effective in removing the harmful bacteria from the mouth.

Causes of bad breath.

The tongue is home to the majority of microbes that cause bad breath.

So, by cleaning your tongue daily, not only will you support both your ‘in-the-mouth’ and ‘whole-body’ health, but you’ll also naturally freshen your breath. 

“Can cleaning your tongue help reduce the risk of heart disease, arthritis, and other inflammatory issues?”, Ora Wellness. https://orawellness.com/can-cleaning-your-tongue-help-reduce-heart-disease/

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