Halitosis is a persistent problem for many people, even those who think they are doing an outstanding job maintaining their oral health. Despite brushing twice a day and flossing once a day, bad breath problems might still persist. While there are a number of reasons while foul breath might persist despite these efforts, the most common reason is because the source of the odor is not emitting from the teeth or gums, but from the tongue. Indeed, up to 95% of halitosis is thought to originate on the tongue. Your Wilkes-Barre cosmetic dentist, Dr. James DeFinnis, discusses the importance of cleaning the tongue, both for breath purposes and for overall oral health.
Bacteria Thrive on the Tongue
One of the primary causes of bad breath, and of poor oral health in general, is bacteria. Bacteria on the teeth and gums feed on sugars and other food residue, and then emit acidic by-products that both smell bad and can decay the tooth enamel and eat away at the gums. Many of these same bacteria also live on the tongue. Even though they are not in a position to harm the teeth while on the tongue, they can still form plaque and cause poor odors.
Cleaning the Tongue
Some people use their toothbrush to also clean the tongue. While that can prove somewhat effective, the bristles of the toothbrush are designed for the hard teeth and not for the soft, flexible tongue. To truly clean the tongue, it is advisable to use a scraper or brush that is specially designed for it. There are many options available at stores, and patients are advised to choose the instrument that is most effective for them.
Benefits of a clean tongue
Beyond eliminating much of the source of bad breath, cleaning the tongue can also improve overall oral health. Thanks to saliva, bacteria that originate on the tongue can migrate onto the teeth and gums, where they can easily cause periodontal disease and tooth decay. As it has become more apparent that oral health has a direct bearing on overall health, eliminating as much bacteria from the mouth can only have a positive effect on the body. So, no matter how well you maintain your teeth and gums, the only way to have optimal oral health is to clean your tongue as well.
Your Wilkes-Barre Cosmetic Dentist is Ready to Meet You
If you are interested in the cosmetic dental procedures we offer, such as veneers or teeth whitening, call Back Mountain Dental at (570) 763-4360 to schedule a cosmetic dentistry consultation with Dr. DeFinnis. We have something for you to smile about in Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, and the surrounding communities.