Article Last Updated On Sunday, May 19th, 2013:
White Coating On Tongue Or Geographic Tongue – Advice on How To Clean Your White Tongue
If you have a white tongue, you should do everything possible to clean your tongue because this condition can turn people off and it can also cause your breath to smell disgusting. Anyone who has a condition known as geographic tongue is more likely to have a white tongue. Geographic Tongue simply means a tongue that has lots of grooves and fissures in it – these grooves and fissures make an excellent breeding ground for the anaerobic bacteria that cause bad breath and a white tongue. The way around this problem is simply making sure that your tongue is kept as clean as possible. But not all tongue cleaning is created equal.
Tongue Cleaning (or Tongue Scraping) is a process that the majority of people in the United States don’t do on a daily basis. Yet it’s one of the most important steps you can take to keep your breath clean and fresh!
It’s not difficult to do, and it’s not even that particularly time consuming. Yet that extra minute or two per day can reap huge rewards in preventing bad breath, and helping to prevent white tongue and return it to its normal color.
A healthy tongue should be slightly moist, smooth, and slightly pinkish in color.
Under certain conditions, a geographic tongue can become coated, off-color (white, yellow, even black), and dry and cracked.
UNHEALTHY, DRY, COATED TONGUES:
Let me clarify a few things about tongue cleaning:
1. It’s not necessary to scrape hard
I’ve seen people make their tongues bleed because they were pressing down so hard. In general, pressing harder does not remove more bacteria. You simply need to press hard enough so that the tongue cleaner contacts your tongue, flush across the cleaning surface. Try not to leave any gaps.
2. Tongue Cleaning Alone Does Not Prevent Bad Breath
Tongue Cleaning does not kill the bacteria that cause bad breath that are breeding below the surface of a geographic tongue. It simply removes the gunk on the surface of your tongue (mucus and food debris) which are a food source for those anaerobic bacteria. In order to get rid of those anaerobic bacteria (which are responsible for white tongue), you must use an oxygenating toothpaste which can penetrate beneath your tongues surface.
3. It’s not necessary to use one of those complex, expensive gizmos to successfully clean your tongue
Really, all your need is a fairly rigid instrument, that you can easily make flush with the largest amount possible of your tongues surface area. The electronic tongue cleaners you see can be helpful if you have arthritis, difficulty with coordination, or in general have a tough time performing the actions listed below.
Recommended Tongue Cleaner:
Triple Headed Plastic Tongue Cleaner
Step-By-Step Instructions to Successfully Clean A Geographic Tongue and Prevent White Tongue
Here is an average tongue cleaning from start to finish from someone who volunteered to have photos taken.
1. Starting at the very base of your tongue, place the tongue cleaner flush against your tongues surface and make slow sweeping strokes from back-to-front. Start at either side (left or right) and work your way to the other. Depending on the tongue cleaner you are using, you might need to make 3-4 different ‘swaths’ across your tongue.
2. Once the surface debris from your tongue has been removed, apply a small bead of TheraBreath Oxygenating Toothpaste to the head of your tongue cleaner.
3. Gently coat the surface of your tongue (as far back as possible without gagging) with the toothpaste. This allows it to penetrate below the surface of your tongue to neutralize those sulfur-producing anaerobic bacteria! There are more bacteria in the rear of your tongue than in the front.
4. Once your tongue is coated, allow the toothpaste to stay on the surface of your tongue as long as you can. Up to 90 seconds is ideal. If you begin to cough, or your gag reflex kicks in, that’s ok, just spit whenever you need to.
5. Ideally, it’s best to leave the toothpaste on the surface of your tongue, while you brush your teeth normally.