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                                                        DR. DAN PETERSON

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A tongue scraper is often effective in relieving oral malodor caused by sinus drainage.

The Purpose of Tongue Cleaning -

Studies suggest that brushing and flossing should be accompanied by tongue cleaning in order to achieve a truly cleansed oral cavity. By removing the soft plaque from the tongue dorsum (especially the anaerobic, posterior areas), you are removing most of the bacteria and other debris that are the primary source of gaseous volatile-sulfur compounds (halitosis), hard plaque (tartar) and mineral leaching acids (tooth decay).

Tongue cleaning is:
bulletremoves the plaque and other debris from your tongue, instead of just masking it
bullettakes less time than using a rinse. 

The latest research  associates the bacteria in our mouths to heart disease and other ailments. The bottom line - for dramatically better oral hygiene and health just go to the source and clean your tongue, safely and effectively.

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It is impossible to remove all the bacteria from the mouth because it is constantly under attack by the gram negative anaerobic bacteria which thrives in the anaerobic environment of the posterior dorsal villa of the tongue  These anaerobic type bacteria include the likes of A. actinomycetemcomitans, B. forsythus, T. denticola, P. intermedia and P.gingivalis and are readily associated with periodontal disease.

Brushing the tongue does little more than mash the bacteria and plaque deeper into the filliform, without addressing the real problem at the posterior part of the tongue. Tongue cleaning, with the proper instrument,
mechanically removes a huge proportion of the balance of bacteria
remaining in the mouth after brushing and flossing. 

The rinses or pastes that have an antimicrobial effect work by changing the Ph and/or another biochemical component related to one facet of the oral environment. Alcohol is probably the worst rinse ingredient because of its drying effect on the oral tissues (actually, this promotes the growth of anaerobic bacteria) and the possibility that long-term use may cause oral cancers.

Use your tongue scraper once a day to help control bad breath

                                 Tongue Scraper Gentle Tongue Scraper (3-pak)
  While brushing and flossing should remove 25% of the odors in your mouth,
scraping your tongue can remove up to 75%

You can gently clean the surface of their tongue with the BreathRx Gentle Tongue Scraper at home. The simple and easy action of tongue deplaquing has been shown to significantly reduce oral malodor, and should become a regular part of every hygiene routine. Use the Gentle Tongue Scraper with the Anti-Bacterial Tongue spray to ensure that you and your patients experience all-day fresh breath. 3-pak.

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In terms of general health, there is great incentive to mechanically remove the bulk of the bacteria in the mouth by cleaning the tongue. Many recent studies have shown that several of the bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and promote blood clots and damage heart muscle tissue. The bacteria Clostridium perfingens, which is commonly found in the oral cavity, is suspected of being one of the major culprits . Other research suggests that newborns with low birth weight may be associated with the toxic byproducts released by the bacteria from gum infections in pregnant women. There are also ongoing studies that link the worsening
symptoms of both diabetes and periodontal disease. As well, bacteria found in the mouth can end up in the airways and increase the risk of complications associated with chronic lung conditions and respiratory disease.

For dramatically better oral hygiene and health, daily tongue cleaning is the safest and most effective choice

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Tongue Cleaning News Update

Tongue Scrapers only Slightly Reduce Bad Breath

At least 40 million Americans suffer from halitosis. Unfortunately, there is no standard treatment for it.

According to a study in the September/October issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal, halitosis is a term used to describe any disagreeable odor of expired air.  Bad breath is a generally accepted term for foul smells emanating from the mouth.  Oral malodor is a term reserved for unpleasant smells originating from the oral cavity. A common reason for bad breath is post-nasal drip, which coats the back area of the tongue with bacteria-rich mucous, A tongue scraper is often effective in relieving oral malodor caused by sinus drainage.

The study reviewed literature examining the effects of using tongue scrapers to brush the tongue, rather than using a toothbrush to scrape the tongue.  Data revealed that a tongue cleaner/scraper demonstrated a significant difference in reducing volatile sulfur compounds (VSC) levels, which are produced when bacteria and amino acids interact to produce bad breath. 

Though there is no standard treatment, bacteria-causing halitosis can be reduced by brushing or scraping the middle and back of the tongue.  Tongue scraping can lower VSC concentration, subsequently reducing oral malodor.  However, that reduction is only short-term, and not an absolute solution for eliminating malodor. 

Despite the short-term reduction, tongue scrapers are a good tool for the short-term.  Tongue cleaners and scrapers are straightforward and comfortable to use, easy to transport, and inexpensively priced. Cleaning the tongue is quickly and easily accomplished. Everyone from children to elders should be able to incorporate this technique into their oral care regimen. 10/06

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Impact of tongue cleansers on microbial load and taste

Tongue cleaning has been advocated to improve oral malodor and to reduce reinfection of periodontal niches by eliminating tonguecoating and/or reducing putrefaction by bacteria.

Both devices had been used twice daily for 2 weeks (toothbrush three forward-backward movements along the linea mediana and for each longitudinal third of the tongue; two strokes with the scraper along the linea mediana and along the borders of the tongue).

Two weeks of tongue brushing or scraping resulted in only negligible reductions in aerobic and anaerobic bacteria on the tongueThe amount of tongue coating, however, decreased significantly with both devices. The taste sensation improved after 2 weeks of tongue cleaning, especially with the scraper.

Tongue cleaning improves taste sensation and seems to reduce the substrata for putrefaction, rather than the bacterial load.

[Quirynen M, Avontroodt P, Soers C, Zhao H, Pauwels M, van Steenberghe D. Impact of tongue cleansers on microbial load and taste. J Clin Periodontol 2004;31(7): 506 - 510.]

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It is estimated that approximately 85% of all halitosis cases have their origin within the mouth; of these, 50% are caused by tongue residues. Previous studies have established that hydrogen sulfide and mercaptans are the primary components of halitosis. Thus, tongue cleaning gains importance as a means of halitosis management.

Two mechanical methods for tongue cleaning were used: brushing the tongue with a toothbrush or tongue scrapping. Although the tongue coating was removed by both methods, the tongue scraper performed better in reducing the production of volatile sulfur compounds.

Tongue-Cleaning Methods: A Comparative Clinical Trial Employing a Toothbrush and a Tongue Scraper Vinícius Pedrazzi, Sandra Sato, Maria da Glória Chiarello de Mattos, Elza Helena Guimarães Lara, and Heitor Panzeri  J Periodontol 2004;75(7):1009-1012]

What She Needs is a Good Tongue Cleaning by Donald Antonson, DDS, MEd, Sibel Antonson, DDS, PhD, and Audrey Levitt Galka, RDH, April 2003

Digest Number 77 Dec 2001 10:48:54 -0000

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PLEASE NOTE: The information contained herein is intended for educational purposes only.  It is not intended and should not be construed as the delivery of dental/medical care and is not a substitute for personal hands on dental/medical attention, diagnosis or treatment.  Persons requiring diagnosis, treatment, or with specific questions are urged to contact your family dental/health care provider for appropriate care.
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