So you brush your teeth every day, but it doesn't seem to be enough to make your breath as fresh as you'd like it to be. What could you be missing?
A tongue cleaner is one vital part of your oral care routine that you don't want to neglect, along with brushing, flossing and rinsing. These are just a few ways this tool can help you keep your mouth healthy and feeling fresh.
In addition to brushing your teeth twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and flossing once a day per the instructions from the American Dental Association (ADA), you also need to brush your tongue for a totally clean mouth and fresh breath.
Use tongue cleaners to scrape away excess plaque and odor-causing bacteria, the ADA suggests. When cleaning your tongue, try to reach as far back on your tongue as you can to remove as much bacteria as possible. A tongue scraper or a toothbrush with a built-in cleaner for your tongue can clean those hard-to-reach areas in the mouth, like the tongue and inside of the cheeks, and get rid of the bacteria that creates bad breath.
Bad breath is caused by diet, poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, gum disease and other health conditions, says the Mayo Clinic, so make sure you're doing all you can to control it through adequate oral care. After enjoying a meal, especially when you eat smelly foods such as onion and garlic, bad breath is created when bacteria from the food particles left behind on your tongue release foul smelling volatile sulfur compounds (VSC), according to the IOSR Journal of Dental and Medical Sciences.
Rather than brushing your tongue with the bristles on your toothbrush, use a tongue cleaner designed for this very task. Cleaning your tongue with a tongue scraper, according to the National Institutes of Health, can reduce the number of VSC by 75 percent compared with a regular toothbrush, which reduces VSC by 45 percent. After brushing, flossing and rinsing with a mouthwash, reach for a tongue cleaner to do a more thorough job of cleaning your mouth and keeping your breath in check.
A lesser known benefit of tongue cleaning is it helps you taste foods better. Dead cells and food debris begin to coat the tongue after eating, which can clog your taste buds and leave a metallic taste in your mouth. Clearing away the bacteria on the tongue with a tongue cleaner has been shown in a study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology to improve your taste sensation.
Your oral health is connected to your sense of taste, overall health and quality of life, which stresses how important it is to start cleaning your tongue if it's not already part of your oral care routine. Good oral hygiene means a healthy mouth and fresher breath. After adding a tongue cleaner to your oral care regimen, you should have a cleaner mouth, better breath and, hopefully, a boost in confidence.
If your bad breath persists, talk to your dentist about what might be causing it and how to treat it. You shouldn't have to worry about bad breath but with these tips, you can take steps now to improve your breath and overall oral health.