Like it or not, your mouth is filled with bacteria. Every time you eat, they eat, too. Every time you do not brush your teeth or forget to floss, they enjoy a banquet at the expense of your dental health. Many will have noted a foul smelling odor emanating from their mouths, which is nothing more than the bacteria digesting your and their foods.
As a matter of fact, did you know that the smell we commonly associate with rotting eggs is the same that is produced by the bacteria inside your mouth? It is true! The bane of high school teachers everywhere, the stink bomb, is nothing more than sulfur that is allowed to escape from a container. The same substance is created when the bacteria inside your mouth break down the food particles that are left after you are done enjoying a meal.
If you wonder whether or not you actually have bad breath, simply try these two simple tests:
Go ahead and lick your clean, perfume free wrist. In the alternative, lick the back of your hand. Let the saliva dry for a few seconds and then smell. What does it smell like? Whatever you are sniffing is the same smell that those around you must weather when you speak to them.
Now take a teaspoon and turn it upside down so that the hollow end is pointing toward your tongue. Gently and carefully, place the hollow end over the back of your tongue and then scrape forward. When you pull the spoon out of you mouth, the odds are that it will have a sticky white substance on it. These are bacteria that you just scraped out of your mouth. Go ahead and take a whiff. Not very appetizing smelling, is it? This odor is what those around you will smell when you exhale.
If you find that your breath is objectionable, you are not alone. There is a billion dollar a year industry that has sprung up around oral hygiene and the numbers of gums, mouthwashes, and gadgets that have flooded the market are staggering. No matter what your need, there is a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, or other dental device to meet your need.
Yet there is much overlooked component to oral hygiene that is not as regularly considered as proper brushing and flossing methods: the tongue cleaning. It is true, your tongue needs to be cleaned just like your teeth and gums needs to be brushed and kept healthy. As a matter of fact, cleaner tongues will very likely lead to fresher breath. Here are some tips and tricks for proper tongue cleaning:
The goal of tongue cleaning is to simply dislodge and get rid of as many accumulated bacteria as possible. To this end, the proper tool is a key ingredient. While the spoon may work for the short term, there are actual dental tools available that will permit you to reach the very back of the tongue without unduly activating your gag reflex.
While some folks may consider brushing the back of the tongue to be the only hygiene needed, this is incorrect, since the toothbrush will not reach as far back as a properly designed tongue scraper.
Of course, not all tongue cleaners are created equal. When visiting your local pharmacy or drugstore you will notice that there are various models available. Some are rigid, while others are remarkably flexible. Some feel flimsy and look like they will not last very long, while others appear to be made for the long haul. Some are made from plastic, while others, at specialty stores, will be made from copper.
No matter what you are faced with, consider that the more rigid the tongue scraper, the more likely injury to the tongue will be. The tongue is a very soft organ, and failure to treat it with the proper care will result in painful cuts and nicks that may become inflamed. While you don’t need to be taken in by the latest fad, it is important to remember that you are not scraping a door, table or other rigid surface, so you don’t need a hard and sturdy scraper. You do need something that will mold itself to your tongue’s contour.