Bad breath or halitosis, is the result of poor dental hygiene habits, chemical breakdown of food, and may be a sign of other health problems. Bad breath can also be made worse by choosing habits that are unhealthy. We all know how bad our breath is after eating garlic or onions for lunch or dinner, but did you know that your tongue can be a major cause of your bad breath?
Importance of Regularly Cleaning Your Tongue
Did you know that the surface of your tongue is the main breeding ground for harmful bacteria? These bacteria are the same that attack your teeth and gums causing tooth cavities and bone loss (periodontal disease). Bacteria give off toxins in your mouth that in turn produce foul smelling gases.
Most people are well aware of the importance of brushing and flossing but a simple scraping of your tongue 2 times a day can reduce bad breath odors. Research studies have shown this can reach as high as a 75% reduction in odors coming from the mouth.
A widely believed dental myth is that the stomach is the root cause of bad breath. Bad breath directly caused from the stomach is so rare that of a thousand people treated for bad breath not a single case was caused by underlying stomach issues.
Tooth brushing and most mouthwashes do nothing to remove oral debris and dead cells on the tongue, the underlying cause of most bad breath. The most you can hope for from them, is to mask the bad breath for a short while. A combination of methods works best and this should include brushing, flossing, and tongue cleaning. Tongue cleaning can show a huge improvement in one’s breath almost immediately.
Tongue Cleaning: Did You Know?
-Combination of teeth brushing and tongue cleaning can decrease bad breath by as much as 85% versus just tooth brushing.
-Tongue cleaning alone can reduce mouth odor by as much as 75%.
-Brushing alone, reduces mouth odor by as much as 25%.
-Tongue cleaning reduces the amount of bacteria, plaque, and dead cells on the tongue by as much as 40%
-Tongue cleaning will cut down the bacteria stored in the mouth by Tenfold.
-Tongue cleaning reduces halitosis including smoker‘s breath by as much as 85 %
How to Clean Your Tongue Effectively
There are quite a few products on the market now strictly for tongue cleaning. There are many types of tools available to clean your tongue, it is strictly a matter of preference. The old fashioned manual toothbrush does a very good job as well.
1. Apply a pea sized amount of toothpaste to a wet toothbrush, not the same one that you use for your teeth, because the tongue holds significantly more debris and different bacteria than your tongue. The tongue cleaning toothbrush should be rinsed in antibacterial mouth rinse and stored separately so as not to contaminate your regular toothbrush.
2. Open your mouth wide and stick your tongue out at yourself in front of the mirror. Reach in with the toothbrush and gently touch the back of your tongue, near your throat. If you gag, pull the toothbrush a bit farther out of your mouth and try again. Repeat this step until you find a starting point that does not cause you to gag. Don’t worry if you can’t get very far back, your gag reflex will relax over time.
3. Press down on the toothbrush and pull it forward. Drag it across the entire length of your tongue until you reach the tip.
4. Repeat Step 2, moving the brush off to one side slightly so you drag across a new section of tongue. Spit out excess toothpaste if necessary, but don’t swallow it.
5. Continue doing this until you have scraped the entire top of your tongue. Rinse the toothbrush. Lighten the pressure, and repeat the process on the underside. If the procedure is painful, you’re pushing too hard.
6. Rinse your mouth thoroughly for at least one minute with an anti bacterial mouthwash. Spit when you’re finished.
Tongue Cleaning Conclusion
Maintaining good dental hygiene may seem like a daunting task but it is really quite simple once it becomes a part of your daily routine. Not only will you experience better breath, and less dental issues, but you will feel better and more confident about yourself as you go about your daily activities. Research has shown time and again how important a smile is to our self esteem. Give yourself peace of mind and follow your dental hygiene instructions for a happier, healthier you!
© 2012, Marielaina Perrone DDS. All rights reserved. Henderson Dental Implants