Are you an avid brusher, flosser and mouthwash user? If you pay special attention to your oral hygiene, but still suffer from bad breath, you may be forgetting something . . . cleaning your tongue. Many times the tongue is the culprit for bad breath, periodontal disease and other oral ailments. The tongue is made up of grooves and ridges that trap bacteria. Over time and especially overnight, the tongue can build up a plethora of foul smelling bacteria if not properly cleaned.

Have you ever noticed a white, filmy coating on your tongue? Even if you have not developed a noticeable film, it is important to properly clean your tongue. You can clean your tongue a number of ways. An easy way is to simply brush your tongue when brushing your teeth. Gently place your toothbrush at the back of your tongue and brush forward toward the tip. Rinse your brush often, even after each pass of the tongue. It is important to brush forward only and not back and forth which can spread the bacteria all over the mouth.

Tongue scrapers are an effective tool for cleaning the tongue.  A tongue scraper will gently but effectively removes bacteria and buildup found on the tongue when used properly.  Remember to rinse the tongue scraper after each pass so you don’t reapply the bacteria.  It is best to use a tongue scraper once a day from back to front, first thing in the morning even prior to eating or drinking. It is recommended to use an antimicrobial mouth wash to help keep bacteria at bay, and mouthwash will help to keep your breath fresh.   So remember good oral hygiene is not just about brushing and flossing; cleaning your tongue is a vitally important step for fresh breath as well as healthy teeth and gums.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Michael Juban, Juban Dental Care

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