Have bad breath? Try tongue Scraping!

The Tongue
We’re going inside your mouth, of course, to your tongue – this is a dental article, after all!
Because whether you know it or not, like you in the wintertime, your tongue is also “all covered
up” – buried beneath layers of bacteria, fungi, and food residue that can inhibit your ability to
taste, let alone cause your tongue to appear various shades of yellow, white, or green! Remove
the bacteria, though, and your food will once again directly interact with those taste buds, and
return to its natural hue. So how does one do that? With a tongue scraper, of course!

WHAT is a tongue scraper?
A tongue scraper is a U-shaped device designed to “scrape” the top layer of scum from your
tongue. They have been in use since ancient times, and have been made of everything from
wood to whalebone. Nowadays, they are made of more hygienic material, and come in a
variety of shapes, sizes, designs and colors.

WHY use a tongue scraper?
The residue on your tongue includes things like the cavity-inducing Streptococcus mutans
bacterium, fungi, rotting food (that’s not good), and what’s referred to as “volatile sulfur
compounds.” In other words, sulfur – that “rotting egg smell.” Talk about ew! So, as you can see,
there are several reasons why you’d want to get rid of this gunk in your mouth. Let’s tackle
them one by one:
• Reduce bad breath: ‘nuff said!
• Reduce your risk of periodontal disease and cavities: Bad bacteria contribute to plaque
and tartar on teeth, making them more susceptible to cavities. Bacteria build-up can also lead
to inflammation of gum tissue (gingivitis). If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontal
disease, which means a more expensive dental visit (plus other unwanted consequences!).
Speaking of avoiding an expensive dental visit, when was the last time you came in to see us?
Come see us now if it’s been awhile, by calling in at 816-741-6000.

HOW does one use a tongue scraper?
In general, make sure to rinse your tongue scraper before and after use. Apply the tongue
scraper to the back of your tongue and drag it forward. Then, rinse and repeat. Make sure to
get the sides of your tongue as well, not just the center!
Make sure not to press too hard or you can cause yourself to bleed. And, if you’re wondering if
you should scrape your tongue while recovering from a dental procedure, that’s a good
question … ask your dentist for the best advice particular to your situation. Still not sure how
this thing really works? The next time you’re in ask one of our trained staff for a
quick tutorial!

WHERE do I buy one?
Your first choice is, believe it or not, your dentist.  They may even have a
sample they could provide to you at no cost.  Tongue scrapers are relatively inexpensive, and can also be found at
any local drugstore. It doesn’t matter the material, color, or brand – just find the one you like
and get scraping!

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1805 NW Platte Road, Suite 140
Riverside, MO 64150
(816) 741-6000

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