Dental Tips: Bad Breath and Your Tongue

As humans, the five basic senses we have include our sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch. Many argue that your smell is the most power sense

As humans, the five basic senses we have include our sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch. Many argue that your smell is the most powerful sense. If you’ve ever smelt something pleasant, then it’s likely this smell will become imbedded in your memory. For example, when you’re wearing an amazing perfume, others may have asked you for the name. . .

The same can also apply if you’ve ever smelt something distasteful or rotten…  The memory of that smell will continue to stick with you for a very long time. Now imagine this, you’re speaking to someone and all they can concentrate on is the foul odour coming from your breath. Usually, they will shy away from you or try to avoid you. In a social setting, this can be extremely uncomfortable for you and others. So what’s the reason for your bad breath? Well, perhaps it’s time to take a look at your tongue in the mirror. Describe how it looks, do you notice it has a coating or strange colour that seems rather odd? We're all aware that regular brushing, flossing and the use of mouthwash is important to keep our mouth clean and fresh. But, do you remember to clean your tongue during your oral hygiene routine? On today’s market, there are plenty of products and devices that are specifically designed to target your tongue. Continue reading to find out what the importance of taking care of your tongue is, in addition to the rest of your mouth.


What Your Tongue Can Reveal

When you tongue is coated, it can cause halitosis. Although bad breath isn’t actually visible, if your tongue is coated with a yellow, white or brown film then this could indicate bad breath. So why does your tongue turn white? Well, there is more than just one reason, these include:

  • Smoking
  • Excess consumption of alcohol
  • Dehydration
  • Fever

These factors can all cause your mouth to dry up – leading to halitosis. In some instances, syphilis, thrush or other infections can cause your tongue to turn white in colour. Your tongue may even turn brown or black in appearance.

Does your tongue look dark or hairy? You may have something called lingua villosa nigra. This condition occurs when buds of the tongue overproduce the substance keratin, causing the buds to enlarge. Don’t worry, this does sound scary but it isn’t a disease plus it's harmless, minus the strange appearance. The results of this condition are killer breath… in order to eliminate this unwanted smell, you’ll want to clean your tongue daily using toothpaste. Also, pick up a tongue scraper if you don’t already own one. This little dental tool is extremely effective at removing bacteria in your mouth. Gargling with mouthwash can also improve the smell of your breath by rinsing away debris and bacteria.

The Truth About Your Bad Breath

Billions of bacteria are on your tongue as you read this. The main culprits of halitosis in roughly 90 percent of cases are these microbes that live in our mouth. According to studies, those with  large colonies of anerobicmicroganisms on their tongues generally have stronger (worse) smelling breath compared to those with smaller colonies of bacteria. The cause however may just be due to genetics.

Your tongues surface can affect how widely spread the bacteria colonization is. Some people may have fissures, small grooves or cracks on their tongue. Unfortunately, if you are one of these people than you could be more susceptible to developing halitosis.

Tongue Scraping

Don’t downplay the impact a tongue scraper can have on your breath. Both scientists and a dentist near you will agree that tongue scraping can help to quell bad breath. In fact, using a tongue scraper twice daily in addition to mouthwash can help to dispel bad breath even more than brushing, flossing and rinsing. If the thought of tongue scraping makes you cringe, don’t worry you can use an alcohol-free mouth wash.  This type of mouthwash can stop odour-causing bacteria. Now, if you want to improve your oral hygiene routine and breath even further, consider adding an oral care probiotic to your regimen which can replace offensive compounds and bacteria with healthy ones.

Morning Breath

Morning breath is a total turn off. However, unless you’re sleeping with your mouth wired shut, then you’re going to wake up with morning breath. That’s because opening your mouth while you sleep even just once causes your mouth to dry out. Morning breath differs from regular bad breath, as it is caused by dry mouth and the pH balance of your tongue. According to one study, those with morning breath usually have more slightly acidic saliva and a basic tongue coating.

Remember, if your bad breath is out of control; speak with your dentist in Oshawa. There may be an underlying cause behind the odour that only your dentist can pinpoint. 

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