While brushing and flossing remove bacteria from teeth and gums, as much as 50% of the bacteria in the mouth live on the surface of our tongue. And it’s these bacteria in particular that can be one cause of bad breath.
The best and most effective way of neutralising bacteria that live on the tongue is to scrape them off. Your kids may think it sounds yucky but, when they’re enjoying the benefits of a clean tongue and lively tastebuds, they’ll soon realise it’s not so bad after all. There are a couple of ways your kids can get started with tongue cleaning so get them to give each a go and see which one they prefer.
Brushing is probably the least effective method as toothbrushes were designed to clean teeth, not tongues. It won’t remove as much as scraping but it’s a good start. Using a spoon is a good way to introduce your child to the idea of tongue scraping and how it feels. It’s more effective in removing the coating of bacteria from the tongue than brushing. If your child prefers scraping to brushing then the next step would be to buy a specially designed tongue scraper. You can find them in selected health food stores , pharmacies and online.
Teach Your Child to Clean Their Tongue
Using a Toothbrush
After they’ve finished brushing their teeth, get your child to brush or ‘paint’ his or her tongue gently from back to front and along the sides (no need to do underneath). Get them to brush as far back as possible without gagging.
Using a Spoon
Pick out a spoon (smaller is usually better), invert it and then scrape away. Start as far back on the tongue as you can and scrape from back to front. Don’t forget the sides. Repeat as many times as you like until your tongue feels clean.
Do this every time you clean your teeth.