Couple brushing together

The surface of the tongue is covered with many little tissue projections called papillae.  Papillae serve a variety of functions such as detecting taste.  Unfortunately, they also provide protection for bacterial colonies. Because foul odors originate from bacteria, an unclean tongue is a major source of bad breath, or halitosis.

Germs that cause gum disease, gingivitis, and tooth decay live in groups. A problem often caused by bacterial colonization is the production of foul odors. However, these bacteria can be much less destructive when their colonies, are mechanically broken up with a toothbrush.

Probably the most effective time for brushing and/or scraping the tongue for the management of halitosis is when brushing the teeth in the morning. Brushing the tongue is also an effective way to handle halitosis. It also reduces overall amount of germs in the mouth to help prevent gum disease and tooth decay.

Some dentists also advocate scraping the tongue routinely with special tools as treatment for halitosis.

Some general tips:

  • Tilt the brush at a 45 degree angle against the gumline and sweep or roll the brush away from gumline.
  • Gently brush the outside, inside and chewing surface of each tooth using short back-and-forth strokes.
  • Gently brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen breath.

You can visit animated-teeth for more information on brushing your tongue.

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