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FAQs: Tongue Cleaning and Halitosis
How soon can I expect results?
It depends on the individual condition, but the results can be instant. Certainly much of the coating gets removed immediately. It’s like washing the body. A clean body or clean tongue doesn’t smell bad.
Do many people clean their tongues in this way ?
The truth is that millions of people know about it.
It is common practice in many Asian and older cultures. Tongue cleaning was also practiced by ancient Romans and by the wealthier classes in 18th and 19th century Europe. However, for some unknown reasons, the practice did not spread widely in the West..
But now, with more research verifying its benefits, and with TV and other publicity, many dentists and hygienists are recommending it. In fact, since DrTung's introduced tongue cleaning to the USA in the mid-nineties, we have become a household name in the health industry.
Do you recommend plastic or stainless steel tongue cleaners? Or even brushes?
Stainless steel doesn’t wear out and is impervious to bacteria (unlike plastic).
There are 3 basic kinds of tongue cleaners available – our U-shaped stainless steel cleaner (can be used with 1 or 2 hands); one-handed cleaners which are usually T-shaped or have rounded heads; or brushes
We believe the U-shaped design is best as it can easily clean the back of the tongue, where most bacteria reside. Using 2 hands give precise control over the pressure and position of the cleaner. This seemingly simple design has evolved over centuries and gives precise control over the position and pressure of the cleaner on the tongue, making it easy to use and overcoming the gagging problem caused by too much pressure on the tongue (as when trying to clean it with a brush or other one-handed cleaners).
Brushes are good for applying something like paste or a viscous substance toharder surfaces, like teeth. They are generally not effective in removing such viscous substance, especially from a soft object like the tongue.
Does tongue cleaning have benefits in addition to keeping the breath fresh?
Research shows that tongue cleaning can help prevent plaque buildup on the teeth, remove the coating on the tongue and improve our taste perception (because the coating on the tongue dulls the taste receptors). Many people report that they get far less colds and flu. It is good for overall health!
How often should you clean your tongue?
Twice a day is usually sufficient. Most people do it upon waking and before going to bed, which helps prevent morning breath. Some people also like to clean their tongue after each meal. It only takes 10 or 15 seconds each time.
What is the best way to clean my tongue?
Although some people brush their tongue with a toothbrush, most dentists and hygienists agree that a tongue cleaner (tongue scraper) is a far better tool. Also, research shows that toothbrushes are less than half as effective in removing bio-burden from the tongue. Toothbrushes are designed for cleaning teeth. Tongue cleaners are designed to clean tongues, which are very different from teeth! A tongue cleaner such as Dr. Tung’s U-shaped cleaner is designed to gently “scrape" off the unwanted bacteria and soft plaque, even from the back of the tongue where most "bad breath" bacteria are found. Tongue scraping removes far more bacteria than tongue brushing.
How do I clean the stainless steel tongue cleaner?
We suggest cleaning the tongue cleaner regularly - every few weeks - by rubbing it with toothpaste (rather than a chemical cleaning agent). This helps get rid of any residue that may have built up on the stainless steel.