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Bad Breath That Won’t Go Away? The Culprit Just Might Be Your Tongue?

The majority of people living in the Denver Metro area may brush and floss twice a day and even sneak in an extra tooth brushing after lunch, but even doing this, they still might have bad breath. What’s the culprit causing this you ask? Your tongue. Until you start cleaning your tongue on a daily basis, you may not be able to get rid of lingering halitosis (aka bad breath). Each time you grab your toothbrush, toothpaste and floss to take care of your teeth, let’s not forget to take of your tongue too. These simple oral health habits will make a difference.Willow Creek Dental recommends using a Tongue Scrapper to reduce your bad breath

Best Tongue Brushing Techniques

After you have spent 2 minutes brushing your teeth, it’s time to focus on your tongue. It’s important to focus on your tongue, each and every time you brush your teeth, because the tongue harbors bacteria and food particles trapped under a thin layer of mucus.

It can be as simple as using the bristles of your toothbrush to clean your tongue. To remove this odor-causing buildup, put a small dab of toothpaste on your toothbrush and carefully brush the top of the tongue. Start by reaching to the back of the tongue, and then work forward toward the opening of the mouth. Brush the entire top surface of the tongue using gentle pressure, and finish by rinsing with water. (Source: Colgate Oral Care Center)

Tips on how Best to Use a Tongue Scraper

If you want to up your game in the fight against bad breath, use a tongue scraper. This tool is usually made of soft, flexible plastic and gently peels the thin mucus-based layer of debris from the tongue. Rinse the scraper under warm water after each swipe of the tongue.

If your tongue feels sore or begins to bleed, you most likely are using the tongue scraper with too much force. Work slowly and with light pressure. Concentrate on the center of the tongue where the bulk of odor-causing bacteria lies.

How Often Should YOU Clean Your Tongue?

Our dentists and team of amazing hygienists at Willow Creek Dental recommend that you either brush your tongue or use a tongue scrapper each time after you brush and floss your teeth. A mouthwash rinse after cleaning your tongue will moisturize the mouth and kill any additional bacteria.

For good oral health and maintaining fresh breath it will take more than routine tooth brushing. Start today and get into the habit of focusing on your tongue every time you brush your teeth. Adding this ritual into your daily oral care regime will help you keep your breath neutral and fresh. If your bad breath continues even after weeks of cleaning your tongue every time you brush your teeth, call us 303-779-2797 to schedule an appointment for a dental exam and cleaning.

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6 Things that could be causing your Bad Breath

Do you ever get that horrible feeling that you have bad breath? It is something most of us are self-conscious and embarrassed about. While a lot of bad breath can be attributed to coffee, cigarettes, or garlic, there are other factors that can give your breath a bad odor.

  • The majority of bad breath results from something occurring in your mouth—in addition to the food you eat, bad breath can be caused by gum disease, trapped food particles or an infection/abscess in your mouth. Bad breath can also be caused by tonsil stones–debris that gets trapped in your tonsils and calcifies to become small white formations. You may be more susceptible to tonsil stones if you have routine inflammation of your tonsils. Contact your dentist if you have pain, swelling, bleeding gums, cracked teeth or suspect you have tonsil stones.
  • Respiratory tract infections—chronic bronchitis, strep throat and other respiratory tract infections can be attributed to bad breath. Once you are prescribed medication by your physician to treat the infection, the bad breath should lessen.
  • Chronic acid reflux or GERD—Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is a digestive disorder that results in reflux, a condition where the stomach’s contents come back up into the esophagus. In addition to its common symptom of heartburn, this condition can also produce bad breath. If you suffer from chronic acid reflux or GERD, your doctor may suggest dietary changes or medication to improve your symptoms.
  • Dry Mouth—certain medications can reduce the saliva in your mouth and cause bad breath. This is similar to “morning breath” in that when you are sleeping, your saliva is lessened and dead cells stick to the roof of your mouth and cheeks, leaving an odor. Another lesser known producer of dry mouth is alcohol. If you have dry mouth, there are some potential remedies for you. Try chewing sugarless gum, limit caffeine, stop tobacco use and avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol. If that doesn’t help, contact your dentist who may recommend a specific product.
  • Certain diets—if you are on a specific diet that limits the variety of food you eat such as a very low carb diet, you may notice bad breath as a result. After you digest, foods enter your bloodstream and are carried to the lungs which ultimately affect your breath. Cutting carbohydrates produces ketone molecules and one particular ketone called acetone is excreted, causing bad breath or “keto-breath”. It typically goes away after a few weeks or even months and the best advice is to eat a more balanced diet or drink more water to minimize the impact.

Other internal medical conditions—diabetes, liver disease and kidney disease have also been shown to produce poor smelling breath. If you notice that your breath is unusually bad and you can’t attribute it to anything else, contact your doctor to look at some other possible causes.