No matter how diligent I am about brushing and flossing, I just can’t seem to kick “mask mouth.” Within a few minutes of popping on my PPE, I’m sufficiently grossed out by the smell of my own bad breath. But according to Scott Young, DDS, all I need to do to fix it once and for all is invest in a tongue scraper.
“Tongue scraping can help prevent bad breath by helping remove the odor-causing bacteria that colonizes on the tongue,” he explains. ” Scraping off bacteria from your tongue with a tongue scraper can help remove the sulfur compounds in your mouth and alleviate the foul odors you smell in your mask.” Just as you’d want to keep odor-causing bacteria off of the rest of your body (which, as we all know, is the main point of regular showers), the same goes for your tongue.
Now that mask-wearing has made bad breath our problem (instead of everyone else’s, which on that note: sorry to anyone I’ve ever made out with or close-talked to), stopping it in its tracks is as simple as adding one extra step to your routine. “A tongue scraper can be used daily following a proper brushing and flossing routine,” says Dr. Young. “It should be applied gently from the back of the tongue forward, rinsed, and repeated. It should never be pressed so hard that it is painful or causes bleeding.” Pro tip? Do it while you still have toothpaste on your tongue for added freshness.
And if you want to make your mask smell even sweeter every time you put it on? Try dabbing a few drops of essential oil inside of it. “A dab of an essential oil on your mask can greatly affect your mood,” Amy Galper, former founder of the New York Institute of Aromatic Studies, previously told Well+Good. And what’s more? “Scent can powerfully affect our state of mind, and certainly these wild uncertain days are causing everyone a lot of stress.”
While masks aren’t optional, having to sniff your garbage breath underneath them is, so get to scraping for the sake of the cause.
Shop now: Thinkprice Tongue Scraper Cleaner, $8
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