Did you know that 50%-90% of halitosis, or bad breath is caused by the bacterial residue that is present on the tongue? This is why many people continue to experience bad breath even after they have brushed and flossed their teeth. Mouth fresheners and oral rinses can only mask halitosis temporarily, but it is bound to come back again if the tongue isn’t cleaned on routinely basis.
If you examine your tongue using a bright light, you will notice that there is a pale, yellowish layer present on the dorsal surface, while the underside of the tongue appears pink or flesh-colored. The pale layer is actually composed of food debris, dead cells and bacteria accumulated over time. This needs to be removed as part of your at-home oral hygiene regimen to keep bad breath at bay.
One of the most effective tools that can remove the bacterial layer is the Tongue Scrapper, which is easily available in stores. However, the use of this scrapper often induces gag reflex. Fortunately, with more frequent use of the instrument, the gag reflex may gradually disappear as the oral cavity adjusts to the new practice. There are a few tips that can help you use the Tongue Scrapper without gagging, and these include:
- Breathe through your nose only, when cleaning the tongue. Gag reflex is most likely to occur when you are breathing through your mouth
- Hum, or clench your fist to distract your attention from the scraping
- When cleaning the tongue for the first time, do not move the scrapper too far towards the back of the tongue. Scrape midway first, and then work your way towards the back little by little, desensitizing the tongue in the process.
- Don’t scrape too fast. Use slow, but firm motions and clean patiently to prevent gagging.
- Use the scraper at least twice or thrice the week to allow the tongue to adjust to the routine
Tongue cleaning, brushing, flossing, and dietary modifications together make up an optimal oral hygiene routine. Get in touch with the team at Jester Village Dental today to learn more about at-home cleaning techniques!