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Bad breath: Could a tongue scraper help?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/tongue-scraper/AN01837
- With Mayo Clinic prosthodontist
Alan Carr, D.M.D.read biographyclose window
Alan Carr, D.M.D.Alan B. Carr, D.M.D.
Dr. Alan B. Carr, Department of Dental Specialties at Mayo Clinic, is a consultant in the Division of Prosthodontics and a professor of dentistry at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
Dr. Carr, a native of Hattiesburg, MS., received his prosthodontics training at Mayo. Following his training he has was an assistant professor at Marquette University and then became a full professor at Ohio State University where his clinical duties included Director of Maxillofacial Prosthetics at the James Cancer Hospital. He returned to Mayo in 2000.
Dr. Carr is board certified by the American Board of Prosthodontics. He served in the Air Force and has degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi, University of Mississippi and Mayo Graduate School of Medicine. He also is a member of numerous professional organizations including the American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthetics, the American College of Prosthodontists and the American Dental Association. He has made dozens of international and national presentations, and is author of a dental textbook.
His clinical practice focuses on combined prosthodontics and reconstruction of patients with disabling oral conditions. His research interests include oral and craniofacial endosseous implants, tobacco cessation, and the impact of oral health on general health, especially for patients with chronic illness and the elderly.
Bad breath: Could a tongue scraper help?
I've always struggled with bad breath. Could a tongue scraper help?
from Alan Carr, D.M.D.
Tongue scrapers, which are available in most drugstores in various shapes and sizes, have been touted as a way to reduce or eliminate bad breath (halitosis). You put the tongue scraper at the back of your tongue and bring it forward along your tongue, repeating as often as needed.
Research on the effectiveness of tongue scrapers is limited. What's been published so far describes tongue scraping as temporarily effective for bad breath, but there's not enough evidence that using a tongue scraper helps with ongoing (chronic) halitosis.
However, if you have a coated tongue, which can occur from an overgrowth of bacteria, tongue scraping may be helpful. For instance, a coated tongue can be caused by smoking, dry mouth, poor oral hygiene or medication use.
Although there's no harm in trying a tongue scraper to treat bad breath, it's just as important to practice good dental hygiene overall:
- Brush your teeth and tongue after you eat.
- Floss your teeth at least once a day.
- Drink plenty of water to prevent dry mouth, a cause of bad breath.
- Schedule regular dental checkups.
If bad breath continues, consult your dentist. He or she can identify the cause and help develop a treatment plan.
- Bad breath. American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/bad-breath.aspx. Accessed Oct. 4, 2012.
- Bollen CM, et al. Halitosis: The multidisciplinary approach. International Journal of Oral Science. 2012;4:55.
- Van der Sleen MI, et al. Effectiveness of mechanical tongue cleaning on breath odour and tongue coating: A systematic review. International Journal of Dental Hygiene. 2010;8:258.
- Outhouse TL, et al. Tongue scraping for treating halitosis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD005519.pub2/abstract. Accessed Oct. 9, 2012.
- Sheridan PJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 8, 2012.