Thursday April 18, 2019

Tongue Speaks Volumes About Hygiene, Health

The other way to maintain the tongue's hygiene is to use a mouthwash

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Tongue Speaks Volumes About Hygiene, Health
Tongue Speaks Volumes About Hygiene, Health. Pixabay

It wasn’t long ago that singer Cher advised pop sensation Miley Cyrus not to stick her tongue out if it’s coated, which is certainly not visually appealing.

Experts say the tongue’s condition speaks volume about one’s hygiene consciousness and also reveals one’s health status.

Be it your friends who love to stick out the tongue or actors who prefer close shots, if the tongue is covered with a thick white layer it’s definitely a big turn off.

Aikta Singh, consultant dentist at Gurgaon’s Columbia Asia Hospital, says if brushing the teeth is important, cleaning the tongue is equally essential.

“First, wash a tongue-cleaner and then place it on the tongue. Don’t apply too much pressure and clean in a downward motion at least two to three times. If the pressure is too much you may hurt your tongue,” said Aikta Singh.

Also Read: Prenatal Fish Consumption NOT Linked to Autism Risk in Babies

Clean the tongue on a regular basis to prevent bacteria from growing, she added.

Sonali Bassi, oral care expert at parentune.com, said eating food that have strong colours can also be the culprit for unwanted colour on your tongue.

“Turmeric, black grapes and berries are some of the food items that can leave a colour on your tongue,” Bassi said.

But these edible items are not harmful and can be easily removed with the help of scrapers available in the market.

“Metal and plastic tongue scrapers can be used to remove the coating on the tongue. Most toothbrush companies have also come up with brushes with soft bristles and a rubbery attachment on the reverse that can be used to clean the tongue,” said Bassi.

Ayan Mozumdar, dentist, NationWide – The Family Doctor, said that using the reverse of the brush is safe, but avoid the front part for the same purpose.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“Studies have proved that using a toothbrush designed to clean the tooth surface, which is smooth and hard, compared to the tongue, is not that effective, but you can use toothbrushes that have a tongue cleaner on the other side,” Mozumdar told IANS.

He however felt a plastic scraper is better because if the metal one rusts, it can lead to infection.

Aikta Singh said if a metal cleaner was used, it should be changed every five months.

The other way to maintain the tongue’s hygiene is to use a mouthwash.

“Most of the bad odour is because of deposits on the tongue. At least 70 percent of such cases come to us. Use a mouthwash once a day to give some freshness.

“Most of the commercially available mouthwashes have an alcoholic content. It might dry your mouth a lot; so don’t overuse it. And go for a gentler one and not concentrated as the latter might stain the teeth and also burn the tongue tissues,” Mozumdar said.

Another simple way to fight bacteria is to rinse the mouth with saline water.

“Take a half glass of lukewarm water and pour a half teaspoon of salt in it. Rinse your mouth five to six times a day with it,” said Bassi.

If food can coat your tongue, various illnesses can also affect it.

Also Read: Children taught in mother tongue perform better: Study

According to Mozumdar, there is a connection between oral and general health.

“When you have anaemia, small projections of the tongue are lost over a period of time and it becomes smooth and red, so you might have burning sensation when you eat spicy food. Prolonged illness will also have an effect on the oral system,” he said.

Even fever can affect the tongue.

“When you have high fever, a white layer gets formed on the top of the tongue. It can be removed by regular cleanup, but if that can’t be done, it’s a fungal infection. There are ointments for such cases,” Bassi told IANS.

Aikta Singh says that sometimes, dehydration can be related to a coloured tongue. (IANS)

Next Story

UN: Geneva Can Improve the Health of Citizens Using Digital Technology

Chief WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan said increased availability and use of digital technology offers new opportunities to improve people's health

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health, citizens, digital technology
FILE - A doctor uses a smartphone to take a photo of a child with facial deformity before surgery at the Vietnam Cuba hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam. VOA

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued its first guidelines on digital health intervention.

The U.N. agency said governments can improve the health of their citizens by using digital technology to make health systems more efficient and responsive to their patients. The United Nations said 51 percent of the world’s population has access to broadband internet service.

Chief WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan said increased availability and use of digital technology offers new opportunities to improve people’s health.

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Chief WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan said increased availability and use of digital technology offers new opportunities to improve people’s health. Pixabay

She told VOA the technology enables people, even in the remotest settings, to leapfrog into the development of a more effective, inclusive health system. With the use of mobile phones, computers and laptops, she said it is possible to bypass the intervening stages many countries have had to go through.

“So, a health worker in Congo can directly start using a mobile phone if the government is able to provide one to the health worker and get away from filling 30 paper registers, which occupy about one-third of front-line health workers time,” she added.

New recommendations

The new guidelines include 10 recommendations on how governments can use digital technology for maximum impact on their health systems.

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The new guidelines include 10 recommendations on how governments can use digital technology for maximum impact on their health systems. Pixabay

A WHO scientist specializing in digital innovations and research, Garrett Mehl, said the recommendations deal with issues such as birth notification.

ALSO READ: Diabetes During Pregnancy Spikes up the Risk in Kids Later

“Knowing that a baby has been born is critical to knowing how to provide vaccinations; knowing that the mother needs different post-natal care visits,” he said. “But without knowing that there was a birth that has happened, it is difficult to trigger those events in the health system.”

The guidelines also address privacy concerns.They have recommendations for ensuring that sensitive data, such as issues of sexual and reproductive health, are protected and not put at risk. (VOA)