You may brush twice a day and even sneak in an extra toothbrushing after lunch, but until you learn how to clean your tongue, you may not be able to get rid of lingering halitosis, or bad breath. Each time you reach for the toothpaste, get into the following oral health habits.
Tongue Brushing Techniques
After you have given your teeth a good brushing, focus on your tongue. It is simple enough to use the bristles of your toothbrush. You can also try a specialized brush with a built-in tongue cleaner on the back of the head, such as the Colgate® 360 toothbrush.
The tongue harbors bacteria and food particles trapped under a thin layer of mucus. Remove this odor-causing buildup by using a small dab of toothpaste and carefully brushing the top of the tongue. Start by reaching to the back of the tongue, and then work forward toward the opening of the mouth. Brush the entire top surface of the tongue using gentle pressure, and finish by rinsing with water.
Using a Tongue Scraper
For a more thorough cleaning, use a tongue scraper. This tool is usually made of soft, flexible plastic and gently peels the thin mucus-based layer of debris from the tongue. Rinse the scraper under warm water after each swipe of the tongue.
If your tongue feels sore or begins to bleed, you are using the tongue scraper with too much force. Work slowly and with light pressure. Concentrate on the center of the tongue where the bulk of odor-causing bacteria lies.
How Often to Clean Your Tongue
Each time you brush and floss your teeth, finish your dental care routine with a tongue cleaning. At a minimum, clean your tongue once in the morning and once in the evening before bedtime. If you have dry mouth or notice a foul taste in your mouth midday, try cleaning your tongue to remedy the situation.
A mouthwash rinse used after cleaning your tongue moisturizes the mouth and kills additional bacteria. Remember, maintaining fresh breath goes beyond routine tooth brushing. Getting into the habit of giving your tongue adequate attention will help keep your breath neutral and fresh.