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 might find it difficult to get rid of lingering halitosis, or bad breath. Each time you reach for the toothpaste, remember the following oral health habits.
Tongue Brushing Techniques
After you have given your teeth a good brushing, focus on your tongue. Cleaning the tongue is simple enough – just use the bristles of your toothbrush. You can also try a specialised brush with a built-in tongue cleaner on the back of the head.
The tongue harbours germs and food particles trapped under a thin layer of mucus. Remove this odour-causing build-up by applying a small dab of toothpaste and carefully brushing the top of the tongue. Start by reaching to the back of the tongue, 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 becomes inflamed, you are using the tongue scraper with too much force. Work slowly and with light pressure. Concentrate on the centre of the tongue where the bulk of odour-causing germs occur.
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 at midday, try cleaning your tongue to remedy the situation.
A mouthwash rinse used after cleaning your tongue moisturises 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.