Tips for tongue brushing
The tongue is one of the major sources for halitosis (as you may have read in one of our articles on bad breath
). Bacteria, debris, postnasal drip and food remnants accumulate on the back surface of the tongue, where the bacteria process them into volatile gases, which are considered by researchers to be the most significant reason for breath odor.
Cleaning the tongue can help avoid bad breath, so it is always good to ask your dentist of dental hygienist on the proper method of cleaning your tongue.
Meanwhile, SmellWell presents you a few tips for cleaning the tongue to reduce bad breath:
Try to clean your tongue whenever you brush your teeth - proper dental hygiene helps reduce oral malodor, and tongue brushing is an important part of that.
Choose a plastic tongue cleaner as these tend to be less harsh than metal ones.
- Prefer a flat tongue cleaner that doesn´t touch your palate (this can make you want to gag).
- Make sure your tongue cleaner is wide enough but not too wide, so it cleans most surface of the tongue in one cleaning motion.
- You can clean the front of your tongue with a toothbrush, but getting back farther (to where most of the odor lurks) is difficult.
- Stroke from near the throat (as far back as you can get) towards your lips. Take care not to press too hard, as you don´t want to damage your tongue. The idea is to sweep the mucus layers off the tongue without actually ´scraping´ it.
- Make sure not to harm a V-shaped line of taste buds (the circumvallate papillae) at the far back end of the tongue while you scrape.
- Alternative methods to clean your tongue are by eating a wholesome breakfast with rough foods (cleans the tongue on the way down, and to gargle before bedtime with an effective mouthrinse.
People with hairy tongues, geographical, or coated tongues (you can ask your dentist whether your tongue falls into one of these categories) may have more likelihood of having bad breath from their tongue. So do people with periodontal disease. Smokers may similarly suffer from foul tongue odor. In such instances, back-of- the-tongue cleaning becomes even more important.
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