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General Dentistry: Use a Tongue Cleaner for a Cleaner Mouth
To augment your general dentistry routine of cleaning your teeth with a toothbrush, you can make your mouth fresher by utilizing a tongue cleaner. There are millions of bacteria on the tongue, and merely brushing your teeth is not enough to clean those bacteria. Those tongue bacteria give off volatile sulfur compounds that can cause bad breath. The bacteria are also responsible for most oral health diseases.
Tongue cleaning devices
Three options are available for cleaning the tongue:
- A tongue scraper
- A regular toothbrush
- A custom-made tongue brush
The tongue scraper is the conventional way of cleaning the tongue. Nowadays, you can get a scraper manufactured from plastic or metal. Just position the end of the appliance on the back of the tongue and carefully draw the scraper forward.
Some people opt for a regular toothbrush for tongue cleaning. The only disadvantage of cleaning the tongue with a regular toothbrush is that the bristles are created to clean the smooth surface of the teeth. The tongue’s surface is uneven with several small crevices, and the usual toothbrush bristles may not clean the teeth thoroughly. A study published in the Journal of Periodontology in 2004 showed that tongue cleaning with a toothbrush decreased the generation of volatile sulfur compounds by 45 percent. However, a tongue scraper decreased the release by up to 75 percent.
The third option for cleaning the tongue is using a tongue brush with bristles created to clean the crevices of the tongue. A study conducted by the Journal of Applied Oral Sciences in 2008 revealed that this somewhat recent innovation is just as functional and effective as a conventional tongue scraper.
Using a tongue cleaner
Tongue cleaning can be added to your general dentistry routine before or after brushing the teeth – there is no specific cleaning order. The tongue is sensitive, which means you go easy on the tongue and not put too much pressure on the cleaner. The following are a few general tips for cleaning the tongue:
- Wash the tongue with water before and after use to clean off bacteria and food debris on it
- Begin the cleaning process from the back of your tongue and continue to the front
- Scrape and clean the top and side areas of the tongue, not only the center
- If you are using a tongue brush, the movement on the tongue is similar to the way you use the tongue cleaner – start from the back and work your way forward. You may need to use this technique multiple times until the tongue is sufficiently clean
- Wash your tongue brush or scraper after use to keep it clean
- Rinse your mouth, preferably with antibacterial dental rinses after cleaning the tongue
Tongue cleaning may be an entirely new procedure for you, but it is beneficial to add to your general dentistry routine. Experiment with the different techniques to find the one that is the most suitable. It is cheap and easy to get tongue cleaners. They improve oral hygiene and help eliminate bad breath.
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