I recently saw a news article about “Black Hairy Tongue.” Yes, that is a thing. If you want to read the article click here. And while this is not common, it is a great reminder to brush more than just your teeth. A general trouble zone for many people is the area where the tooth and gums meet. Plaque likes to collect there and this leads to demineralization of the enamel and ultimately a cavity. I sometimes refer to these cavities as “ring around the collar” cavities because they can circle the whole neck of the tooth. The point here is that if your toothbrush bristles are not getting on your gums you are not doing it right. Also, I often see plaque on soft tissue. This too is a sign that you have room for improvement.
For years I have used “The Tongue Cleaner.” I purchased it about 10 years ago and it broke last year. When I had to replace it I looked online. You can find it on Amazon with solid reviews. It is a cost effective tool (about $6) to aid in the removal of debris, bacteria and dead cells that get lodged between the enlarged and sometimes inflamed papillae. This can also help remove a source of bad breath.
Recently, Phillips Soniccare came out with a product, “TongueCare+.” I will give a full review soon but I have been trying it for the past two weeks. It does require a Sonicare toothbrush so when that is considered, it costs much more. However, if you already have the Sonicare brush this setup is about $15. Like I said, look for a full review of this product soon.
Matthew Palomaki, DDS