As 85 percent of bad breath originates in the mouth, simple treatment strategies like brushing teeth twice a day, flossing the spaces between 2 teeth, rinsing and gargling after every food intake, professional cleansing of the teeth by a dentist and treatment for oral diseases, especially gum diseases usually is necessary to tackle this problem. But in most cases an unclean tongue can be the culprit too. In fact, dentists suggest that brushing and flossing should be accompanied by tongue cleaning also in order to thoroughly cleanse your oral cavity. The bacterial count on your tongue can be drastically reduced (as much as 50% in one day) with effective tongue cleaning.
The tongue is a haven for bacteria to breed, multiply and attach to teeth and gums. Tongue cleaning is just as important as hand washing in prevention of common colds, flus and other serious health ailments. Bacteria in the mouth often leads to gingivitis and bad breath (halitosis). This could in turn lead to incurable periodontal diseases and other serious health problems. Medical professional community unanimously opine that there is a powerful association between the existence of periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. Other studies have found correlation between poor oral hygiene and blood clots leading to heart attacks, emphysema, lung disease, kidney and liver problems, and premature birth.
Have you ever opened your mouth to notice a white coating on your tongue? The surface of the tongue is one of the vital breeding grounds for bacteria that attack teeth and gums.The tongue coating consists of desquamated epithelial cells, blood cells and bacteria. More than 100 bacteria may be attached to a single epithelial cell on the tongue dorsum, whereas only 25 bacteria are attached to each cell in other areas of the mouth cavity. We usually clean the front part of the tongue, it’s only the hard-to-reach back portion that is usually neglected, even though this portion has the most bacteria and smells worst.
Therefore, gentle and effective deep tongue-cleansing should and must become a part of one’s daily hygiene routine. You can even use your toothbrush to clean your tongue; just apply a little pressure with a clean toothbrush and use slow, long strokes to remove the white coating from the back to the front. The gunk you are trying to remove is mostly concentrated at the back of the tongue and stroking this area might be difficult as this triggers a gag reflex. However, you will soon get used to it after a while. You should clean the sides of the tongue as well. You may even immerse the toothbrush in a cup of warm salt water and brush your tongue with it; then gargle with salt water and spit out. This helps get rid of the white coating. If the white coating is too thick and you didn’t clean your tongue for a long time, you could try brushing your tongue with a combination of baking soda, 3% hydrogen peroxide and water. However, don’t try this everyday or your tongue might get raw.
Using a tongue scraper is a more effective way of cleaning your tongue; it’s special design allows for the proper cleaning of the entire surface of the tongue, especially the very back of the tongue, where the majority of foul odor-causing bacteria and decaying food particles are lodged. These are usually available at all drugstores; you can even order for them online. Use a tongue scraper to remove the remaining white coating from your tongue. Place the tongue scraper on your tongue as far back as you can without gagging.However remember to use gentle stokes; over-enthusiastic or improper scraping or brushing of tongue can lead to bleeding. Once the surface debris are removed, apply a small bead of oxygenating toothpaste to the head of your tongue cleaner and gently coat the surface of the tongue with the toothpaste; this allows the toothpaste to penetrate below the surface of your tongue and neutralize those sulfur-producing anaerobic bacteria., says Dr. Harold Katz. He recommends using TheraBreath Oxygenating Toothpaste, as this does not contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate which dries out your mouth. Incorporate tongue cleaning in your routine every morning and evening when you brush and floss your teeth and this grooming habit, without any doubt will grant your better hygiene and health.
However remember that tongue cleaning alone does not eliminate bad breath or kill the bacteria that are breeding below the surface of a white tongue. It simply removes the gunk on the surface, which is an ideal breeding ground for anaerobic bacteria to thrive.