Monday, June 8, 2009

How should your tongue be cleaned?

Most people overlook cleaning their tongue but starting to do so on a regular basis can be the single most beneficial treatment for bad breath (halitosis) that a person can institute. The reason for this is related to the fact that the anterior portion of the tongue is somewhat self-cleansing and therefore less likely to harbor large numbers of odor producing bacteria. Many tongue functions require that the anterior portion of the tongue touches firmly against the hard palate. This friction produces a cleansing action, therefore preventing any significant bacterial accumulation.The posterior portion of the tongue, in comparison, rubs up against the soft palate. And these contacts are relatively gentle.

This soft palate contact does not provide enough friction to produce any significant cleansing. And for this reason it is typically the posterior aspect of the tongue that is found to harbor the bacteria that cause a person's breath problems. Because of this, the posterior tongue is the most important area to clean.
While cleaning your tongue with a brush can be satisfactory, many people find that scraping their tongue with a tongue scraper is more effective. As an added benefit, some people find that they have less tendency to gag when using a tongue scraper as opposed to a brush.

Use a spoon as a tongue scraper. It's easy to experiment with tongue scraping. To do so, pick out a spoon (smaller is usually better than larger), invert it, and then go ahead and give tongue scraping a try. Place the spoon on the posterior portion of your tongue and then draw it forward. Be thorough but also gentle. Don't scrape so hard or vigorously that you irritate your tongue.

If tongue scraping seems to be an acceptable technique for you then you might investigate those products that have been specifically designed as tongue scrapers. You will probably find that they are more effective at cleaning than your spoon is.

Below are scrapers you can buy at Whole Foods or any organic market.Bad breath comes from tongue bacteria simply because the tongue happens to be a great place for anaerobes to live. They flourish in all the tiny grooves between papillae and taste buds on the surface of the tongue, covered by a blanket of mucus and other non-cellular material. There, they can safely carry on the business of breaking down proteins that they find floating around in the mouth, and producing volatile sulfur compounds to make us all hold our noses. Wellness...

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