Tongue FAQs

Tongue FAQs

Posted October 20, 2014 by Wager-Evans Dental

bb There is a lot of mixed information out there about your tongue. The fact is, your tongue is a very interesting part of your body.  Today, your Reno dentists, Dr. William Wager and Dr. Brian Evans  answer some questions about your tongue and it’s affect on your oral health.


Q: When that white or brownish stuff is on my tongue does that mean my tongue is dirty?

A: Yes. Your tongue is like a rug that collects food particles and bacteria in between the papillae. The papillae are the tiny bumps you see on your tongue. Most people think they are taste buds, but that is a common misconception. They are like yarn fibers that make up a rug. The whitish-brownish color on your tongue is the buildup of food debris and anaerobic bacteria in between the papillae.

Q: Is bad breath really caused by a dirty tongue?

A: Yes. The anaerobic bacteria that buildup on your tongue is also called putrefying or rot-causing bacteria because it feeds on leftover food particles and other debris. As it metabolizes this debris, or breaks it down, it emits a foul-smelling odor that we call bad breath.

Q: Should I brush my tongue?

A: Yes. There are three reasons to brush your tongue. 1) According to research nearly 90 percent of bad breath results from the anaerobic bacteria on your tongue. Scraping or brushing your tongue helps remove bad bacteria. 2) The bacteria on your tongue can transfer to your teeth. This happens to be the same bacteria that produce the bacterial plaque biofilm that sticks to your teeth and causes tooth decay. Left untreated it can lead to gingivitis and periodontitis. 3) These same pathogenic bacteria have been linked to chronic systemic health problems including diabetes, hypertension, heart attack, and stroke. Research indicates that scraping and brushing your tongue may play a factor in preventing other health conditions from developing.

About Your Reno Dentists

Dr. William Wager, Dr. Brian Evans, and our highly experienced team at Wager Evans Dental are devoted to our patients and their families, and dedicated to providing first-rate dental care in a comfortable, inviting environment. Located in Reno, we proudly welcome residents from Spanish Springs, Sparks, Incline Village, Dayton, Fernley, and all surrounding communities. To schedule a consultation or your next dental appointment, visit our office, or contact us today by calling (775) 800-4845.