Finding the Best Tongue Cleaner

500px Photo ID: 83415887

Nothing is more warming and welcoming than a white, shining smile. But behind those…

Nothing is more warming and welcoming than a white, shining smile. But behind those pearly whites rests the tongue. The tongue is sort of the jack-of-all-trades of your mouth. It performs a variety of functions, ranging from helping people to speak to aiding in the eating and digesting processes. The tongue also helps clean the mouth. But what about when the tongue needs a good cleaning? Determining the best tongue cleaner for you is as necessary as making sure you use the correct toothbrush. Much of the focus of good oral care centers on the teeth, as it should, but don't forget the tongue!

Why Use a Tongue Scraper?

One of the main culprits responsible for necessitating a tongue scraper is halitosis, commonly known as bad breath. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), bad breath results from a variety of sources including gum disease, a lack of oral hygiene, consuming foods like onions and garlic, tobacco usage and medical disorders like sinusitis and postnasal drip. In a number of those instances, a white coating develops on the tongue. The Mayo Clinic notes that this is a result of a swollen overgrowth of papillae on the tongue's surface from bacteria. The bacteria become lodged between the papillae. A tongue scraper is one method to alleviate any coating lining the tongue.

Types of Tongue Cleaning Tools

Mouths are bacteria breeding grounds. Millions of them can form on the tongue, so it's important to understand how to properly clean it. There are generally three types of cleaning tools used on the tongue: a scraper, a regular toothbrush or a specially designed tongue brush. A scraper can be either plastic or metal. A tongue brush has bristles similar to a toothbrush but the former is designed to reach the crevices on the tongue.

Using a Tongue Scraper

Regardless of whether the scraper is plastic or metal, start by placing it at the back of the tongue. Slowly and gently pull the scraper towards the front of the mouth, as the American Dental Association demonstrates. Remember to rinse the scraper before and after using it. Don't forget to use the scraper on each side of the tongue and not just the top surface. Once you've finished the scraping process, rinse your mouth. Since tongue scrapers come in different shapes and sizes, choose one that best suites the shape of your mouth and tongue. Ask your dentist for tips on how to best select one if you're not sure.

If you already brush your choppers twice a day and floss daily, then you clearly understand the value of a healthy mouth. But you can always do more. Perhaps it's time to incorporate the best tongue cleaner you can find into your daily oral routine? Try the Colgate® 360°® Total® Advanced Floss-Tip Toothbrush with tongue cleaner for starters. Or consult your dentist if you have questions about which one is best suited for you. Your tongue will thank for you it.

More Articles You May Like

Common Conditions During ADULTHOOD

As we get older, dental care for adults is crucial. Here are a few of the conditions to be aware of:

Gum disease – if your home care routine of brushing and flossing has slipped and you have skipped your regular dental cleanings, bacterial plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth. The plaque and tartar, if left untreated, may eventually cause irreparable damage to your jawbone and support structures, and could lead to tooth loss.

Oral cancer – according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, men over the age of 40 have the greatest risk for oral cancer. About approximately 43,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the mouth, tongue or throat area, and the ACS estimates that about 7,000 people will die from these cancers. The use of tobacco products and alcohol increases the risk of oral cancer. Most oral cancers are first diagnosed by the dentist during a routine checkup.

Dental fillings break down – fillings have a life expectancy of eight to 10 years. However, they can last 20 years or longer. When the fillings in your mouth start to break down, food and bacteria can get underneath them and can cause decay deep in the tooth.