Have you ever wondered what that white film on your tongue is? It gets thicker the farther back you look. Sometimes it looks grayish, or brownish. Perhaps you don’t give much thought to it, but you should. It’s putrefying, or rot-causing, bacteria eating leftover food particles in your tongue. Gross, huh? That’s not all. As it metabolizes the food particles it releases foul-smelling gases that we call bad breath. Most people pay conscientious attention to their teeth, but overlook their tongue. Brushing your teeth eliminates plaque, but a few hours afterward your tongue transfers more sugar, debris, and rot-causing bacteria that produce plaque back onto your teeth. In today’s blog, your Livonia, MI dentist, Dr. James Stewart discusses the importance of brushing your tongue.
How Does Your Tongue Cause Bad Breath?
Nearly 90 percent of bad breath results from your tongue. The millions of bacteria that live in your mouth reside mostly on your tongue. As bacteria break down the debris on your tongue it releases bad odors. Tongue brushing decreases these putrefying, rot-causing bacteria, helping to eliminate bad breath.
These pathogenic organisms that contribute to bad breath have also been linked to periodontal disease and other health problems. Research shows brushing your tongue can help prevent illnesses such as diabetes, dementia, heart attack, and stroke.
Brush Your Tongue
First scrape your tongue with the tongue cleaner on your toothbrush. Then brush it gently and thoroughly by doing the following:
- The majority of debris and bacteria are on the very back of your tongue, so place the tongue cleanerflat against the surface of your tongue as far back as you can without gagging.
- Gently pull the tongue cleaner forward removing as much debris as possible. After rinsing with water, continue the motion from one side of the tongue to the other.
- Gently brush your tongue using oxygenating toothpaste. Oxygenating toothpastes are made specifically to loosen and remove debris and bacteria trapped in your tongue. Leave the oxygenating toothpaste on your tongue for up to 90 seconds before rinsing for best results.
About Dr. Stewart
James R. Stewart, Jr, DDS, PC and our compassionate staff proudly serve patients of all ages from Livonia, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Northville, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, and all surrounding communities. If it’s time for a professional cleaning, call our office today at (734) 425-4400, to schedule an appointment.