Fresh Breath Starts on the Tongue

Tongue scraper clean tongueIf you’re tired of hiding embarrassment about your bad breath with mints and chewing gum, adding a new appliance to your dental shelf might be the solution. Tongue scrapers have a long and ancient history of success, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t consider using one too. Dr. Calcagno, your Rochester dentist, is here to explain how tongue scrapers can help relieve your bad breath.

What is Halitosis?

Hiding out all over your tongue, but especially in the back where they can remain undisturbed, are billions of bacteria. These evildoers feast on the residual proteins left behind by food, and release compounds that have foul smells, including volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs). Chronic bad breath that persists in spite of your best efforts to eliminate it is called halitosis. The bacteria that cause bad breath are found mostly on the tongue, which is the first thing you should treat if you’re tired of putting your hand in front of your mouth every time you speak.

Tongue Scraper vs. Toothbrush

Some people end their tooth brushing session by scrubbing their tongue, while others drag a piece of floss across it, but neither of these methods compare to the effectiveness of a tongue scraper–a small tool with a handle, and either bristles or a textured surface at one end. Occasionall, you may find tongue scrapers made simply from some material, usually stainless steel, bent into an arch. In a 2004 study, which compared the degree of bacteria removed by a toothbrush to the amount removed by a tongue scraper, the scraper won by a huge margin. Toothbrush users were only able to reduce VSC’s by 45%, while the tongue scrapers managed a 75% reduction.

Using a Tongue Scraper

Though it may not be a regular part of your daily oral hygiene regimen, using a tongue scraper is an effective addition to your brushing and flossing routine. Scrapers are generally inexpensive, and reach parts of your tongue that a toothbrush usually can’t. After seeing the films of plaque that come off your tongue after the first scrape, you probably wont go without it again.

Contact Us

We can’t stress the importance of at-home oral hygiene enough, but in addition to flossing, brushing, and tongue scraping, seeing Dr. Gilly Calcagno every six months for a checkup and dental cleaning is the only way to ensure you’re maintaining a healthy smile. Call Calcagno Cosmetic and Family Dentistry today at (507)281-3659. We serve patients from Rochester, Red Wing, St. Charles, Winona, and Farmington.