Treating Bad Breath Via Tongue Cleaning – It’s the most simplest and most important step you need to start with when you have constant breath problem.
This post will explain why it is important and how to clean the tongue properly. So stick around if you want some essential tongue cleaning tips!
Why Is It So Important?
Many journals have been written discussing the part the tongue plays in obtaining a healthier fresh mouth.
- A study in 1998 looked at subjects with malodour and discovered 87% of them had a problem with their mouth hygiene.
- Of the 87%, 51% of the cases were due to a dirty tongue, 32% due to gum disease and 17% from a combination of both.
The statistics above conclude that in 68% of cases, deep cleaning of the tongue should have a major affect or even cure a persons bad breath.
This is backed up by older studies carried out in the 1970’s which also concluded that tongue cleaning reduced malodour by upto 59-87%. If you have a keen interest in the science behind all of this, then feel free to read the full journal which can be found at PubMed.
The Results Of Cleaning Your Tongue
When you brush or scrape the top side of your tongue (Dorsal surface), you are actually getting rid of the largest population of odour causing bacteria and the food debris that they feed on. Researchers have hinted that the food debris is what makes the odour worse. In some ways they are right because if there was no food debris present in our mouth then those bacteria would have no food and eventually die out.
If you have ever done a breath test you probably noticed the back part of the tongue smells alot worse than the front tip part. If you Don’t know how to test for your own breath then please read my post on Best Ways To Get Rid Of Bad Breath.
The reason why the Anterior portion (front tip) smells better is because it is Self Cleaning:
This is because the tongue is used for speaking and swallowing which places it in direct contact with your hard palate. Friction from this causes a cleaning action which stops bacteria and food building up and sticking.
Posterior portion (back bit) does not smell as good:
This is because the back part of the tongue only touches the soft palate and the contact is pretty minimal and gentle. this is not enough to dislodge bacteria and any food particles, eventually leading to unwanted build up.
This is why cleaning the tongue can have a massive impact in curing bad breath.
take a look for yourself
You can easily see the state of your tongue in the mirror. If there is a brown or white covering present you know it needs cleaning.
How To Get A Nice Clean Tongue
two options: brushing or scraping
Whichever method you eventually decide on, the results will be exactly the same. Here’s Some of the things you need to do:
Clean where the coating is:
Most of the odour causing bacteria and food debris is located in the back portion of your tongue so make a conscious effort to focus in on this. Don’t go and start brushing or scraping right at the back where your tonsils are, it’s pointless.
Tips based on my own experiences
- I found that when i started brushing my tongue, my gag reflexes kicked in and i nearly threw up. I still brush my tongue every now and again but it’s really hard to do it for a long time, i stop after about 20 seconds because it gets too much and my eyes start watering.
- So instead of brushing i use a scraper now, it does not give me the gagging feeling and i can actually see the gunk that comes off my tongue. The first time i used it loads of gunk was on the scraper and i decided to see how it smelled. IT WAS AWFUL!
Let me tell you something, that day i felt like a million bucks because i knew that my mouth was clean and fresh and ever since i have been doing this regularly and hardly have any crap on my tongue when i scrape it. For me once a day is enough.
The picture above is what i use and is called a dentafloss, it’s a 3 in one tool. I use it to floss my teeth and then scrape my tongue. It works fine but it’s far from perfect. the one thing i really hate about it is it’s not comfortable as there is no proper handle to get a grip. After a while my hand starts to ache.
I suppose it gets the job done but there are better options available that i will be sharing with you later on.
- Be gentle when scraping as rubbing too hard will cause irritation or even bleeding. Start with low force and gradually work your way up to the point where you can see the thin film coming off the tongue. This is your sweet spot.
How Often Should I Need To Do It
It really depends on how much of a breath problem you have. If you don’t notice any odour and your general oral hygiene is good then once a day will suffice.
In cases where a cure is necessary, it has been researched by many different scientists that tongue cleaning twice a day could be a possible cure.
I would say start off by cleaning the tongue once a day to start with and eventually you will start to see the benefits and you will subconsciously start doing it every time you brush your teeth. That’s exactly what happened to me.
Tongue brushing Vs Scraping – Whats Best?
There are various studies which have suggested that tongue scrapers and cleaners showed a slight advantage over a regular toothbrush.
I would go for a tongue cleaner as it is specifically designed for the job and is gentle on the tongue. But it is upto you what feels best on your tongue so lets get into the details of each type:
Option 1 – Tongue Brushing
You can just use your regular brush for this and if you start to see results and it is comfortable you can then go and start looking for more speciality brushes which will do a better job.
- moisten your toothbrush with water to soften the bristles
- stick your tongue out as far as you can and look in the mirror for any white or brown coating
- start from the back and brush forwards, keep using these strokes to break up the debris that maybe present
- stick your tongue out and see if you have dislodged the slimy film covering from your tongue. If not then continue brushing
- Once cleaned, rinse your mouth out as well as the brush with warm water.
As i mentioned before the main thing to be aware of is the gag reflex that will most likely kick in during your brushing time. Keep Calm And Carry On or just go to the other option which is…
Two options are available with this technique:
- Scrapers – it could be as simple as just using an inverted spoon or going for the more fancy looking products
One of the main selling points of these types of products is that you can actually see the gunk that is coming off the tongue and another thing is the gag reflex will not occur with these devices
- Cleaners – tongue cleaners are a hybrid between a brush and a scraper. They contain: rubber bristles that help to get into those grooves and furrow on your tongue. they also have a blade part which you can use to scrape the tongues surface.
I reckon tongue cleaners are slightly ahead of the other 2 products when it comes effectiveness, but it is all about your personal preference.
You can shop around for any of the mentioned products and there is definitely no shortage of designs to choose from.
Using a Spoon As A Scraper
There is definitely no shortage of spoons in any household, go get one from the draw and start scraping by following the steps below:
- Use a small spoon
- moisten it so the waste that you scrape from the tongue will wash away easier
- stick your tongue out as far as you can and see where the coating of that slime is
- turn the spoon upside down and start from the back and scrape forwards making sure to use enough pressure to break up the debris.
- rinse the gunk off the spoon by rinsing it under hot water. But before you do that i encourage you to smell it (this is how you breath smells to others)
- Keep scraping until no more gunk is on the spoon
The spoons are one of the most efficient ways to clean your tongue but the only thing is, it is used for eating. I just feel like the spoon has become dirty and is filled with bacteria, this makes me feel uncomfortable using any spoon even if it’s brand new. I might sound a bit OCD but im sure other people out there feel the same way.
The scraper that i would recommend is the Orawellness Tongue scraper which can be found on the orawellness main page.
The main selling points of this is the two handed grip which does not put undue stress on your wrists. It’s also made of stainless steel making it impervious to bacteria and is more comfortable and gentler than plastic.
It’s only $7.75
I think that’s all i have to say on this subject. The main takeaway from this article is you must scrape off the dirt from your tongue if you want to get fresh breath instantly. whatever tool you decide to use please make it into an everyday habit and you will be much happier.
If you already clean your tongue please share your story on which tools you use and how it has helped you. Just leave your comments below and lets help each other out 🙂