Like everyone else, you awaken each morning with a thick, smelly film of debris, bacteria, and dead cells on your tongue. It makes your breath smell bad, contributes to plaque on your teeth, and may lead to heart problems and infertility. Though brushing and flossing get most of the attention, tongue scraping should be included with your regular oral hygiene. Tongue scraping does more than freshen your breath. It can enhance the flavor of foods.
Tongue scrapers are available in various shapes. It may be a simple wire loop on the end of a stick, an open-end U-shaped metal device, or handled molded plastic with a pie-shape opening on the end. Some have ridges, bristles or sharp edges. These can scar the tongue. Select one that has smooth edges.
Begin as far back on your tongue as possible without gagging. Press down lightly and pull forward. Wipe off with a moist face cloth. Repeat until the entire tongue is clean. Then wash the scraper in soap and warm water and let it dry.
Now you are ready to brush your teeth, floss, and swish mouthwash. Repeat this 2-minute procedure each morning, before visiting the dentist, and after each meal—particularly those with garlic and onions—to keep your breath fresh and mouth feeling and healthy.
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