What is the white coating on the tongue? Do we need to clean it off? Many people think oral hygiene is just about brushing teeth. However, tongue cleaning should be part of maintaining oral hygiene as well. The white coating is caused by dead cells, bacteria and food debris trapped between papillae on the tongue. It can form a hotbed for bacteria and lead to bad breath or cavities. In some cases Acetaldehyde can also form on the tongue as a result. Acetaldehyde is a known carcinogen which may increase the probability of oral and throat cancers. Thus, we should definitely not overlook a small task like tongue cleaning which may seem trivial.
What to Do If I Can’t Remove the White Coating?
Why is it that the white tongue still exists even after scrubbing the tongue during tooth brushing? From the perspective of Chinese medicine, the color and location of the coating on the tongue can be used to diagnose one’s physical condition. Under normal circumstance, the coating should be thin and whitish. The tongue should appear light red. If your tongue looks like that, then there’s nothing to worry about.
However, if the coating on the tongue is thick or appears to be yellowish, grayish or even blackish, that means something is wrong with the body. It is advised to have a physical checkup if that’s the case. Never overlook the warning sign the tongue is sending out. If nothing wrong after the physicals, perhaps that’s indeed caused by the insufficient cleaning of the tongue. For that, Sheng Yuan Herbals recommends 5 ways to best clean the tongue:
- Spray some salt on the tongue and use a tongue scraper or a finger to gently run across the tongue for 1 minute. Then gargle with fresh water.
- Aloe is known to have anti-inflammatory and therapeutic effects. Gargle a tablespoon of aloe juice for a few minutes then wash the mouth with warm water can improve the white tongue condition.
- Mix turmeric and citrus juice and apply the mixture on the tongue. Let the mixture sit on the tongue for 2 minutes then wash it off.
- Do not smoke or drink alcohol. Drinking or smoking would cause inflammation on papillae. As a result bacteria can breed and lead to white tongue.
- Dehydration and dried mouth may lead to white tongue. Thus, drink plenty of water and keep hydrated can help avoid white tongue.
Things to Note During Tongue Cleaning
*According to dentists, brush the tongue from the back of the tongue toward the tip of the tongue. Repeat for 3 times and do not over brush the tongue.
*Do not use tooth brush directly scrub the tongue. Bristles which are too hard can damage the taste buds. Recommend using tongue scraper or a finger wrapped in gauze to brush the tongue.
*At night during sleeping saliva secretion is less thus bacteria is being generated at high rate. Recommend to just clean the tongue once a day in the morning to avoid excessive cleaning.
*Choose tongue scraper with softer bristles and gently brush the tongue so that taste buds are not harmed.
Above are some recommendations on how to keep tongues clean. Make sure going forward to clean the tongue while brushing the teeth. In addition, brushing teeth can only clean about 25% of the oral cavity. In order to maintain comprehensive oral hygiene, flossing the teeth and washing the mouth after meals is also necessary. As a result bacteria reproduction in the mouth can be minimized and bad breath can be avoided. For any enhanced oral care, consider using Refreshing Herbal Periodontal Care Toothpaste from Sheng Yuan Herbs. This toothpaste is made with the ancient herbal formula of Dr. Luo Tianyi from the Yuan dynasty. It can help soothe the symptom of gum bleeding and reduce the incidence of periodontal disease. Thus, Refreshing Herbal Periodontal Care Toothpaste is highly recommended for daily oral care.