Cleaning Your Tongue—A Simple Remedy for Bad Breath and Increasing Oral Health - Holladay Family Dental
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Cleaning Your Tongue—A Simple Remedy for Bad Breath and Increasing Oral Health

Cleaning Your Tongue—A Simple Remedy for Bad Breath and Increasing Oral Health

Whether it’s first thing in the morning or late at night, most of us have had bad breath. We know dentists recommend brushing and flossing. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always take care of the problem. We may not even be thinking about our tongues but tongues, with their bumps and ridges, are a breeding ground for bacteria. Bacteria is what commonly causes bad breath.

Does rinsing get rid of bacteria in our mouths? No, rinsing isn’t enough. It may get rid of bacteria on the tongue’s surface, but there is much more below the surface that can cause bad breath and may lead to tooth decay. That is why cleaning your tongue is important to the overall health of your mouth.

Interestingly, the practice of tongue scraping has actually been around about 3,000 years as part of Ayurveda, a mind-body health system developed in India which advises people to scrape their tongues for digestive and overall health. With this many reasons to scrape your tongue, how could you not?

How to Clean Your Tongue

To clean your tongue, you have three options: brush it with your toothbrush, a tongue scraper, or a metal spoon. If you are using a toothbrush, it’s simple. After you have brushed your teeth, spit out excess toothpaste. Brush from the back of your tongue to the front several times until all the tongue’s surface has been brushed. Also, you can gently brush the roof of your mouth and the inside of your cheeks. Then, rinse your brush and your mouth with water. However, be careful not to brush hard enough to break the skin. That could create sores in your mouth.

Your other options include using a tongue scraper or a metal spoon. Some dentists prefer this method to brushing. Scrapers can be purchased inexpensively at any drug store or even on Amazon. Using one is simple as well. Gently rub the edge of the scraper along the surface of your tongue from back to front. Do this 7-8 times then rinse the scraper and your mouth. Both methods are simple and can not only help with bad breath but also can help your mouth to have less tooth decay.

To get the most health benefits from tongue scraping, do it first thing in the morning. When you get out of bed and look at your tongue, you may notice a white film on your tongue. During the night, your digestive systems tries to eliminate toxins from your body. Some of these toxins and bacteria are in the white film. Scraping off this film can get these toxins and bacteria out of your body. Another side benefit to scraping is that you are also cleaning your taste buds. Several people that scrape their tongues report food being more flavorful after starting this practice.