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10 tips for better tongue hygiene

Is your tongue white and mouth filled with bad odour? Here's what you can do to keep your tongue clean.

Written by Editorial Team |Published : January 23, 2014 5:49 PM IST

happy girl with toothbrushExperts say the tongue's condition speaks volumes about one's hygiene consciousness and also reveals one's health status.

Aikta Singh, consultant dentist at Gurgaon's Columbia Asia Hospital, says if brushing the teeth is important, cleaning the tongue is equally essential. Brushing the tongue once in a while is not enough to maintain good tongue hygiene.

Here are a few tips from experts, including Sonali Bassi, oral care expert at, that will help you to keep you tongue clean:

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1. Clean the tongue on a regular basis to prevent bacteria from growing. You can use toothbrushes designed for cleaning the tongue or the ones which have an attachment on the reverse side of it. Don't use the front part (the one you use for brushing teeth) to clean the tongue.

2. Another way is to scrape your tongue with a thoroughly washed tongue-cleaner or scraper. While scraping, don't apply too much pressure. Scrape it in a downward motion at least two to three times. If the pressure is too much you may hurt your tongue. Brushing teeth also should be done in a particular way. Here's what you should know about brushing your teeth.

3. You can use toothpaste to coat your tongue before scraping. Toothpaste neutralizes bacteria on tongue and helps to remove them easily.

4. Rinse your mouth with water thoroughly after scraping.

5. Occasionally, you can use a mouth wash after scraping. Mouth wash helps to remove the bad odour caused by deposition of bacteria on the tongue. But don't use it daily as it may cause over drying of mouth. Read more about how mouth wash can fight germs in your mouth.

6. You can also rinse your mouth with saline water. Take a half glass of lukewarm water and pour a half teaspoon of salt in it. Rinse your mouth five to six times a day with it.

7. Drink green tea. It helps to eliminate oral bacteria. Read more about health benefits of green tea.

8. Avoid eating foods such as black grapes and berries. These foods can also be the culprits for unwanted colour on your tongue.

9. When you have high fever, a white layer gets formed on the top of the tongue. It can be removed by regular cleanup, but if that can't be done, it's a fungal infection. There are ointments for such cases to keep the tongue clean.

10. Drink loads of water. Sometimes dehydration can cause change in colour of the tongue.

Here's more information on maintaining oral health and hygiene. For more information take a look at our guide to oral hygeine.

Source: IANS/Natalia Ningthoujam

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