Yes, brushing and scraping your tongue frequently can help with bad breath. Brushing your tongue removes bacteria and debris that contribute to bad breath by producing volatile sulfur compounds, which are a leading cause of bad breath. By removing these bacteria and debris, brushing your tongue can reduce the production of these compounds and help to freshen your breath.
That said, brushing your tongue alone may not be enough to completely eliminate bad breath. Other factors, such as diet, medical conditions, and oral hygiene practices, can also contribute to bad breath. To maintain fresh breath, you should have a good oral hygiene regimen that includes brushing your teeth and tongue regularly, floss daily, and see a dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.
Tongue scraping is another effective way to help with bad breath. Tongue scrapers are specifically designed to remove bacteria and debris from the tongue, and can be more effective at reducing bad breath than brushing alone. When used in conjunction with brushing and other oral hygiene practices, tongue scraping can be an effective way to maintain fresh breath and overall oral health.
Is there any risk if i never brush my tongue?
Studies have shown that close to 85 percent of all halitosis (bad breath) cases originate within the mouth, 50 percent of which are caused by tongue residues. Besides causing bad breath, failure to brush your tongue at least once every 24 hours can leave behind harmful bacteria that lead to tooth decay. In this regard, studies suggest that regular brushing and flossing should be accompanied by scraping the tongue to achieve a fully cleansed oral cavity.
So you can do the two simultaneously, either before or after brushing your teeth. You can also scrape your tongue whenever you have an unpleasant taste in your mouth, like after consuming garlic.
Conversely, if you never brush your tongue, you will be putting both your oral health and general well-being at risk. Brushing your tongue allows you to remove the soft plaque on the tongue, including, any debris and bacteria on the posterior part, which are a major source of hard plaque, halitosis, and tooth decay. Many recent studies have also revealed that some of the bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream, leading to blood clots and damage to heart muscle tissue.
Benefits of brushing your tongue
The benefits of tongue cleaning include:
- To remove small food particles and other residue – Removing food debris that has accumulated throughout the day will allow you to maintain the health of your teeth and gums, and help to reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
- To aid in managing heart disease, diabetes, and other illnesses – Tongue brushing and scraping your tongue removes bacteria and other toxins in your mouth that may enter into the bloodstream aggravating other illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
- To help with bad breath – While regular brushing and flossing removes plaque on your teeth, tongue cleaning is important to remove bacteria (especially at the posterior of the tongue) and ensure that your breath stays fresh all day.
- To improve digestive health – Digestion begins at the tongue through tasting. Tongue cleaning enhances your tasting experience, activates saliva production, and stimulates Agni (the body’s digestive fire) to aid in digestion.
Techniques for cleaning your tongue
Tongue cleaning using appropriate instruments helps to mechanically remove a large percentage of the bacteria remaining in the mouth after flossing and brushing. There are two mechanical techniques for tongue cleaning:
1. Tongue brushing
This technique uses a toothbrush to make forward and backward movements along the median line, as well as for each longitudinal third of the tongue. Tongue brushing involves using a toothbrush to scrub the surface of the tongue.
This method can be effective at removing debris and reducing bad breath, but it may not be as effective at removing bacteria as tongue scraping. Toothbrushes are designed for cleaning teeth, not tongues, and may not reach all areas of the tongue, leaving some bacteria and debris behind.
2. Tongue scraping
This approach uses a scraper to make strokes along the median line, as well as along the tongue borders. This specialized tool has a smooth, flat surface that physically removes bacteria and debris from the tongue. This method is more effective at removing bacteria and freshening breath than brushing alone, as it physically scrapes the surface of the tongue to remove built-up debris.
Tongue scraping vs. brushing
Studies show that both methods can remove tongue coating and enhance taste sensation, though tongue scraping is better in reducing halitosis. Tongue scrapers are specifically designed to remove bacteria and debris from the tongue, and can be more effective at reducing bad breath than brushing alone. When used in conjunction with brushing and other oral hygiene practices, tongue scraping can be an effective way to maintain fresh breath and overall oral health.
The key to avoiding bad breath and tooth decay from accumulated bacteria on the tongue is removing the plaque by cleaning it. Both tongue brushing and tongue scraping can help to improve oral hygiene and reduce bad breath. However, tongue scraping may be more effective at removing bacteria and freshening breath, and is a useful complement to tongue brushing and other oral hygiene practices.
Also note that mouthwashes, gums, and mints only hide or mask bad breath momentarily, and do not improve oral hygiene like tongue cleaning. Finally, tongues are very sensitive, so be gentle when brushing or scraping.