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The natural bacteria in your mouth can pose a threat to your oral health in a myriad of ways. Poor oral hygiene habits can increase the total bacterial load in your mouth. This heightened population of microbes can promote plaque formation, hardened tartar, gum disease and tooth decay. Even if you don’t suffer this significant oral health issues, poor oral hygiene can cause chronic bad breath.

One easy way to reduce the overall number of bacteria in your mouth is to add a thorough tongue cleaning into your daily oral hygiene regimen. It’s most convenient to do this, after you’re done brushing your teeth, by brushing your tongue in a gentle circular motion. Make sure you brush around the sides of the tongue as well as the top surface. This will help clean your tongue of some bacteria and refresh your mouth.

A tongue scraper is a simple oral hygiene device that consists of a small, plastic handle with a mildly sharp edge at the end. As the name implies, you simply work from front to back making multiple overlapping sweeps. If you notice a buildup of material on the blade edge, you should rinse it off before making another pass over your tongue.

After you’re done cleaning your tongue, you can floss your teeth and rinse your mouth with antiseptic mouthwash to help wash away lingering bacteria. This can further serve to freshen your breath and kill some of the remaining bacteria. Just keep in mind that antiseptic mouthwash can’t clean between teeth with the effectiveness of dental floss. Any material left in these areas will once again promote plaque formation and bad breath.

If you live in the Lafayette, Indiana, area and you have oral hygiene concerns, you should call 765-477-0331 to schedule a checkup with Dr. Trevor Murray, DDS and Christian Mazur, DDS.