Our teeth need a twice daily brush – that is obvious and we all know that from early years…but what about our tongue? Could missing on cleaning your tongue be a cause of a bad breath? We have to remember that our tongue accumulates many bacteria and if we skip cleaning it, this will result in an unpleasant breath. Surprisingly, it has been estimated that between 50% and 90% of halitosis – bad breath, can be traced back to residues on the tongue. Indeed, it is the back of the tongue where the vast majority of sulphur-producing bacteria can be found. To prevent it, you should not only be brushing your teeth daily, but also clean your tongue.
How to do it?
There are several options. The simplest of them is to buy a toothbrush, which on the reverse side of the bristles, has a special tongue tread to clean the tongue. After you finished brushing your teeth, just rub it against the surface of the tongue and then rinse your mouth with cold water or minty mouthwash.
Don’t be surprised if you find that you have an active gag reflex. If you do, you’ll probably find that over with time and with practice it will diminish. If gagging is a problem, just do the best you can. If having a mishap seems likely, consider cleaning your tongue at times when your stomach is relatively empty. Scraping, as opposed to brushing, may be less likely to trigger a gag reflex.
Using a Tongue Scraper
For a more thorough cleaning, use a tongue scraper. This tool is usually made of soft, flexible plastic and gently peels the thin mucus-based layer of debris from the tongue. Rinse the scraper under warm water after each swipe of the tongue.
If your tongue feels sore or begins to bleed, you are using the tongue scraper with too much force. Work slowly and with light pressure. Concentrate on the centre of the tongue where the bulk of odour-causing bacteria lies.
How often should you clean your tongue?
Considering how little time it takes, it’s not a bad idea to just go ahead and do it every time you brush your teeth. The hope is a habit will set in where your mouth won’t feel clean unless you’ve cleaned your tongue too.
Cleaning your tongue doesn’t just help to keep your breath fresh.
Studies have also shown that after a few weeks of cleaning your tongue many people find that their sense of taste increases too – meaning you’ll enjoy your food more. In other words, cleaning your tongue should be seen as an important and integral part of your daily oral hygiene routine.