It’s not those daily morning Dunkin’ Donuts runs (though all the coffee is certainly not helping
on the “bad breath” front!) or smells from the stomach, as some people might think. It’s the
surface of the tongue, one of the mouth features that gets the least attention during your daily
According to the Australia-based medical resource Better Health Channel, bad breath
primarily originates from bacteria on the surface of the tongue, especially near the back, that help
digest food. But if there’s too much food or debris on the tongue, the bacteria may run afoul –
and a run a foul-smelling mouth!
Here’s how to keep your tongue clean and healthy:
Use a dentist-approved mouthwash for dry mouth, and swish the directed amount of
time. Treatments for dry mouth benefit the tongue as well as the rest of the mouth. A
moist tongue allows you to eat and swallow food and liquids effectively, and it helps
control the levels of good bacteria in the mouth. The signs of a tongue affected by dry
mouth include a raw, red-colored tongue and a sticky feeling when you move your
tongue around the mouth.
Use a tongue brush or scraper, not your toothbrush on the tongue. The tongue brush
should be as key a part of your dental arsenal as your floss and your toothbrush.
Toothbrush bristles are coated to be gentle on the sensitive enamel of the teeth, and do
not provide as rigorous a scrub as your tongue needs to lift out all the bacteria and food
debris that can lead to bad breath. You can typically find these wherever you find
toothbrushes and electric toothbrush heads, and replace them as often as you would a
toothbrush – three to four months is a good measure.
To use the tongue brush effectively – Move the tongue brush up and down the tongue,
but not too hard so that you don’t hurt your tongue’s tissues. Gently brush the scrubbed-
off material off the tongue and out of your mouth, rinsing the tongue brush thoroughly
between sessions. Use the tongue brush as frequently as you would a toothbrush.
If you follow these steps – as well as other approved good dental practices – good breath should
result, something your friends, coworkers and loved ones can all appreciate!