White Tongue Bad Breath

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White geographic tongue The tongue is a breeding ground for bacteria and germs. No where is this more evident than in what is commonly called white or geographic tongue. One of the first noticeable signs is a thin biofilm or coating on the surface of the tongue usually appearing white, yellow or sometimes black in coloration. It is often accompanied by cracks, grooves or fissures within the tongue allowing bacteria and germs to hide and flourish leading to bad breath (halitosis).

Keeping the tongue clean is

an important means of prevention and stopping offending breath odor. Although it is impossible to remove all of the bacteria, you can control and reduce these levels by launching a persistent attack against them. It may require a little extra effort because new bacteria are being formed throughout the day. Just brushing you teeth after every meal usually is not enough to maintain fresh breath. The ingredients in your toothpaste may not be doing much to aid in killing bad breath bacteria but making the problem worse.

10 Causes Of White Tongue

  • Dehydration
  • Side effect of antibiotics or other medications
  • Aids
  • Oral Candidiasis (or Thrush) a yeast infection of the mouth
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Steroid Inhalers (commonly used for Asthma)
  • Jaundice (also known as Icterus a yellow coloration of the skin)
  • Compromised immune system (Immunosuppression/deficiency)
  • Lichen Planus (patches of fine white lines or dots may appear as white streaks on the tongue). It affects middle aged women most and often seen in patients with Hepatitis C.

Cleaning A Dirty Tongue

Typically made from a thin piece of plastic tongue scrapers or sweepers have become increasingly popular for immediately cleaning the tongue of food particles and odor causing bacteria. They tend to be inexpensive and can be purchased individually or several in pack. Some dentists will give patients with problem breath a few small samples to get them started.

They can be used daily as a part of your oral hygiene regimen. Scraper types not only come in plastic but also metals like stainless steel, copper, sterling silver, gold, brass and wood, depending on your preference.

Using A Tongue Scraper

  • If using a plastic scraper arch by bending the handles and reach as far back in the mouth as possible and gently pull down/forward on the handles.
  • Rinse scraper and mouth of debris and residue after each try.
  • Repeat 2-3 times
  • Then wash or gargle with a bacteria killing mouth rinse or wash to neutralize any bacteria.
  • Make sure you thoroughly clean the scraper of any bacteria after each use.

Controlling Volatile Sulfur Compounds (VSC)

Although tongue scraping helps remove bacteria on the tongue, it does very little to control new bad breath bacteria formed from dry mouth, morning breath or after eating a meal containing garlic or dairy products (which are known to contribute to breath odor).

Regular use of an oxygenating mouthwash or rinse will help prevent significant increases in volatile sulfur compounds throughout the day.

Breath sprays and mints can also be used for additional prevention.

Collectively these products can provide an effective defense against white tongue bad breath.



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