Your tongue makes an ideal breeding ground for millions of bacteria. This collection of bacteria breeds in the back of your mouth and produce sulphur based compounds as a by-product. These compounds attack your teeth and gums and can contribute to bad breath. Whilst most bacteria will be washed away before it can lead to bad breath, if left untreated, the remaining bacteria can cause bad breath. Brushing and flossing can help to eliminate the remaining bacteria from between your teeth and near your gums. However bacteria often survive on your tongue.
Research indicates that regularly cleaning your tongue will control the build up of bacteria, food debris and dead cells from the area. Tongue cleaning has been in use in other parts of the world as a popular remedy for treating bad breath and its use is backed up by clinic studies. Under 10% of the cases of bad breath originate in a place other than the mouth, meaning that most of the time, a low level of oral hygiene is to blame for the condition. Research has also shown that tongue cleaning on a daily basis can have a huge impact on the numbers of bacteria living in your mouth.
How to Clean your Tongue
To clean your tongue properly you first need the right tool. Tongue cleaning apparatus are available over the counter at many outlets. Studies have shown that cleaning your tongue for only 30 seconds twice a day can have a great impact on your oral health, but it's important to keep brushing and flossing as well.
To use your tongue-cleaning tool correctly, run the scraping section across the top of your tongue. As you repeat this motion you should see a film-like substance build up on your scraper. Once you see this, simply rinse your tool and repeat the motion, afterwards simply wash your mouth out with water to remove any remaining bacteria.
When cleaning your tongue make sure that you scrape softly, pressing harder won't help to remove any more bacteria. Simply press hard enough so that your tongue is in contact with the cleaner and make sure you don't leave any gaps. Cleaning your tongue on its own won't kill all the bacteria associated with bad breath. This is because some of the bacteria are breeding below the surface of your tongue and in other areas of the mouth. So whilst cleaning your tongue in isolation will help to remove the waste of food debris and mucus from your tongue, it's won’t prevent bad breath. To get rid of all the bacteria you'll also need to brush and floss as you would normally. You don't need to use a specialised tongue-cleaning instrument to clean your tongue properly, any rigid instrument that can make contact with the surface area of your tongue will do. It's important to note that some cleaning instruments can be of help to users who have limited dexterity or arthritis, which can often make some areas of the mouth hard to reach.