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When you eat cookies or biscuits and at the same time drink water or coke, you may notice that the flour of the cookies is mixed with water to form a sticky substance like mud that sticks to your teeth, which makes you uncomfortable.

You can use a toothpick or a string of dental floss to get the the sticky flour off the teeth, but most people don't bother to do that. Instead, you may use your tongue to do that.

Is it correct to say "wriggle your tongue on your teeth to get the sticky flour off"?

  • 2
    Flour is one of the ingredients of biscuits/cookies. Once they have been baked, I would speak of crumbs rather than flour. As for the action, this is another of those things that there isn't a 'right' way to describe because we don't normally feel the need to talk about it. Nov 12, 2020 at 9:18
  • @KateBunting, my 3 year old kid told me to put my finger into her mouth to get it off, but I hated so I asked her to "wriggle her tongue" to remove it by herself
    – Tom
    Nov 12, 2020 at 9:24
  • 1
    Yes, that's a good enough way to describe the action to a young child. Nov 12, 2020 at 9:38
  • 4
    It is unnatural to describe this kind of action with this level of detail. When giving instructions to a kid, it would be more common to say something like, "Use your tongue to clean your teeth."
    – Juhasz
    Nov 12, 2020 at 17:32
  • We don't really have a natural term for this slightly "diffuse" tongue action (using the tongue to clean many tooth surfaces). But one verb that's common in relation to using the tongue to sense and/or move something more "point-specific" in the mouth is He/she worried (at) it with his/her tongue Nov 12, 2020 at 17:39

2 Answers 2


As answered already in comments this is not something usually expressed into words, with the exception of instructing a child. There are numerous alternative words or phrasing from the specific "wriggle" to the generic "run".


Even with a child there is no need for this level of detail. How about "use your tongue"?

Papa, the biscuit is stuck to my teeth, can you clean it with your finger?

No sweetie, just use your tongue.

The biscuit isn't flour but I suppose a child might describe it as that. I wouldn't correct them.

  • but you can be a bit more specific by using "rub", for example, "rub your teeth with your tongue". Most children know what "rub" is.
    – Tom
    Nov 13, 2020 at 0:27
  • 1
    Sure, "rub" is fine. But the point isn't that children don't know words, but that children don't need an instruction manual on how to use their tongue.
    – James K
    Nov 13, 2020 at 4:41

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