Bad breath and poor taste? Doctor explains how to look after your tongue

When you brush your teeth in the morning, do you remember to brush your tongue?

Bad breath and poor taste? Doctor explains how to look after your tongue
woman yawning bad breath
Bacteria and debris can accumulate on the tongue’s surface (Picture: Metro/Getty)

When you brush your teeth in the morning, do you remember to brush your tongue?

Brushing our teeth is a fundamental part of all our daily routines, but too many people skip the tongue.

Dr Rhona Eskander, dentist at Dental Phobia, explained that keeping our tongue fresh is vital for a number of reasons.

‘The tongue’s surface is covered with tiny crevices and taste buds where bacteria and food particles can accumulate,’ Dr Eskander explained.

‘If these are left unchecked, they can produce foul-smelling compounds and contribute to bad breath. By gently brushing your tongue, you remove this buildup of bacteria and food debris, reducing the potential for odorous compounds to form.’

The scientific name for bad breath is halitosis – but avoiding the embarrassment of bad breath isn’t the only reason to stay on top of dental hygiene.

‘Additionally, a cleaner tongue can enhance your sense of taste, as the taste buds are less obstructed by debris,’ she explained.

‘It also aids in preventing plaque formation on teeth, which can lead to dental issues.

‘So, incorporating tongue brushing into your oral care routine not only promotes better breath but also contributes to overall oral health and a more enjoyable eating experience.’

Not cleaning your tongue can also mean bacteria thrives, your tongue develops a ‘coated’ appearance, and there’s an increased risk of dental plaque, gum disease, oral infections and cavities.

It’s time to invest in a tongue scraper.

How should I clean my tongue?

  • Be gentle – It’s important to keep in mind the tongue’s surface is sensitive, so clean it gently to prevent irritation or damage.
  • Clean from back to front – When cleaning the tongue, start from the back and gradually move forward.
  • Rinse thoroughly – Once you’ve loosened the debris and bacteria on your tongue, make sure it stays away by rinsing your mouth out with water or mouthwash.
  • Do it daily – Keep on top of your tongue-washing everyday to ensure optimal oral hygiene.

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