Using a Tongue Cleaner for a Cleaner Mouth

tongue scraper and how to use - colgate au

In addition to using a toothbrush to clean your teeth, you can improve your mouth's health by using a tongue cleaner. Millions of bacteria collect on your tongue each day, and simply brushing your teeth doesn't remove those bacteria. Tongue bacteria produce volatile sulphur compounds, which can cause bad breath. The bacteria may also have the potential to cause other health issues.

Tongue-cleaning tools

You have four choices for cleaning your tongue; these are:

  • Using a tongue scraper
  • Brushing your tongue with your regular toothbrush
  • Using a toothbrush with a tongue brush on the side opposite the nylon toothbrush bristles

A tongue scraper is the traditional method for cleaning the tongue. Today, you can buy scrapers made from plastic or metal. Simply place the edge of the tool on the back of your tongue and gently pull the scraper forward.

Some people use a regular toothbrush to clean the tongue. The disadvantage of using a regular toothbrush on the tongue is that the bristles are designed to clean the smooth surfaces of your teeth. Your tongue is a rough surface with many tiny crevices, and regular toothbrush bristles may not do a thorough cleaning job.

Your third choice for tongue cleaning is a toothbrush that has a tongue brush on the side opposite the nylon toothbrush bristles. This is a less time-consuming option because you can brush your teeth and gums first and then flip the toothbrush over to brush your tongue effectively and remove the bacteria that reside there.

Cleaning the tongue can help reduce the bacteria that reside on it and help to freshen your breath and keep your mouth healthier.

Using your tongue cleaner

You can clean your tongue either before or after you brush your teeth; no studies support a particular cleaning order. Your tongue is sensitive, so it's important to be gentle and not to press the cleaner too forcefully onto your tongue.

Here are a few more general cleaning tips:

  • Rinse your tongue cleaner before and after using it to remove bacteria and food debris that may be present.
  • Start cleaning at the back of your tongue and work your way forward.
  • Scrape and clean the entire top and side surfaces of your tongue, not just the centre.

A note on the tongue brush: if you use a tongue brush, move it the same way you moved the tongue cleaner, from the back of the tongue to the front. You may have to use this method a few times in order to adequately clean your entire tongue. Rinse the tongue brush off after you use it to remove bacteria and any food debris from the areas of the tongue you cleaned. Lastly, rinse your mouth after cleaning your tongue.

The cleanest tongue around

Cleaning your tongue may be a new venture for you. Try these different methods to find the one that works best for you. Tongue cleaners are inexpensive and improve oral hygiene while helping to prevent bad breath. Using one will give your mouth a cleaner and fresher feeling.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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PLAQUE & TARTAR

Definition

Plaque is a sticky, white film of bacteria that constantly forms on our teeth and along the gum line. Plaque contains bacteria that can cause cavities and gum disease. If plaque forms and is not removed by proper brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar — sometimes called calculus — which is calcified (or hardened) plaque that attaches to the enamel on your teeth, as well as along and below the gum line.

Signs & Symptoms

Everyone develops plaque because bacteria are constantly growing in our mouths, which is not necessarily easy to see. Plaque that is not removed from around the gum line can cause inflammation and irritation to the gums around your teeth, leading to gingivitis (red, swollen, bleeding gums). If gingivitis is not treated, it can progress to periodontal disease and, possibly, tooth loss.

Unlike plaque, tartar is a mineral buildup that is fairly easy to see, if above the gum line. The most common sign of tartar buildup is a yellow or brown deposit often around the lower front teeth. The only way to remove tartar completely is to see your dental practitioner for a professional cleaning.

Stop plaque in its tracks

Plaque is a sticky bacterial film that sticks to your teeth. When plaque is not removed through brushing and flossing, it turns into tartar. Try one of our toothpastes which reduces plaque and tartar build up.