Why do we get bad breath? There are hundreds of reasons, ranging from the straightforward (smelly food) to the oblique (post-nasal drip) to the uncomfortable (Sjogren's syndrome). But of all the causes of halitosis, the most common is probably the coated tongue.
If you've ever looked at your tongue in the mirror, the odds are good that you've gotten a gander at it when it's coated. The surface of your tongue is covered with millions of taste buds, not to mention countless dips, depressions and grooves. This pebbly surface is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
When oral microbes colonize your tongue, they worm their way into the space between taste buds. Once settled in, they begin digesting food particles and giving off a smelly, unpleasant odor.
According to periodontologist Phillip Sheridan, tongue coating is the number one cause of halitosis. He told New York's FOX 23 News that the slimy white stuff that covers the back of the tongue gives off more nasty odors than anything else in your mouth.
So what can you do about it?
"Brush the teeth, floss the teeth and and scrape that tongue," he told the news source. "Clean it so that it's nice and pink and healthy." Most oral health experts agree with this advice. Rather than grinning and bearing bout after bout of bad breath, beat it by buying the best bad-breath-busting mouthwashes, toothpastes and tongue scrapers available.
Generally, it's best to stick to specialty breath freshening products and to avoid generic products that are neither oxygenating nor gentle.
To target tongue coating, begin by gently and thoroughly scraping its surface. If you do it right, the scraper should pull off a thick layer of white scum. Next, brush with an oxygenating toothpaste. Finally, rinse with an alcohol-free mouthwash or an oral health probiotics kit.