Should I Add Tongue Scraping Into My Dental Routine?

Should I Add Tongue Scraping Into My Dental Routine?

During your hygiene appointments, we frequently talk about your brushing and flossing routines. But, what about your tongue? It plays a critical role in your mouth and overall health. Find out why and how to keep it in shape.

The tongue is at the front line of the immune system and protects us against harmful bacteria entering our mouth when we eat and drink. Germs can travel from the mouth to other organs and cause disease, so keeping a consistent mouth cleaning routine is key not only for your teeth but for your overall health. That’s why Dr. Brunacini, Dr. Karagiorgos, and our team of wonderful hygienists recommend adding tongue scraping after brushing and flossing your teeth every day. It will only add one to two extra minutes to your routine and bring you a lot of benefits. Read on to learn more!

  1. Improves digestion. Your digestive process starts in the mouth and guess what happens when debris, bacteria and dead cells build up on your tongue? Saliva activation doesn’t work as well and your digestion suffers. However, when you scrape your tongue you clear out these blockages so your mouth can produce the correct amount of saliva and digestion can function properly.  
  2. Helps prevent and reduce bad breath. In some people, the accumulation of bacteria in the mouth causes bad breath. Using a tongue scraper consistently will help remove it, and you will have a fresher breath!
  3. Boosts your immune system. We often talk about how a good oral health routine contributes to your overall health, and tongue scraping is a part of thatBy scraping the tongue you will avoid the reabsorption of toxins, so that your immune system won’t be so busy dealing with them and will have more resources available to fight any other germs!
  4. Boosts up your sense of taste. When you scrape your tongue your taste buds will be freed of blockages and have direct contact with food again. Are you ready to rediscover how pepper, lemon or ginger really taste?

Tongue scraping is easy!  There is no secret to it, but there are a few details that we think are important for you to know, so that you make the most of it. Here’s the basic how-to: 

  • Touch the scraper to the back of your  tongue with a little pressure and pull it forward. Always go from back to front. Scrape a few times until you make sure that you have covered all the surface. 
  • When you are done, wash the scraper with soap and keep it on a clean surface.

If you want to add tongue scraping into your cleaning routine, let us know and we are happy to give you a plastic tongue scraper to get you started! However, if you want to buy a copper scraper, that is also a good option. No matter what your choice is, know that washing your tongue with a toothbrush doesn’t work.  Our hygienists are always happy to provide a demonstration, so please don’t hesitate to ask at your next appointment! 

It’s easy to upgrade your daily oral health care routine with tongue scraping.Try it for a week and let us know about your experience! And as always, reach out to Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos with any questions or concerns.  We’re your partners in oral health and here to help!


*Image courtesy of


You Better Wise Up…About Wisdom Teeth!

Third molars, prehistoric chompers, painful nuisances…we’re talking about wisdom teeth! You’ve probably known someone who has had their wisdom teeth removed, but what are these mysterious molars and why do they need to be removed?  Let’s be wise and learn more!

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Between the age of 16 to 25, most people develop a third set of molars that are also known as wisdom teeth.  As such, wisdom teeth are often called the third molars by dentists. Most adults have 4 total wisdom teeth (two on the bottom and two on top).  

Interestingly, these teeth are positively prehistoric!  Looking back, our early ancestors had a larger jaw and subsisted on a diet of chewy leaves, roots, and raw meat.  As man evolved to have larger brains, our diet became softer and more processed, and our jaws shrunk. The wisdom teeth stuck around though, but with less space to accommodate them.

Why Do They Need to Be Removed?

Some people never develop wisdom teeth, while others have all four wisdom teeth come in without issue.  Unfortunately, for many adults, discomfort or pain coincides with their wisdom teeth coming in, or “erupting.”  When wisdom teeth are impacted, they come in at an angle and push against the gum or adjacent tooth (again, because our modern jaws are smaller). This can lead to pain and to a disrupted bite alignment, as well as cause health issues such as infection, tooth decay, and gum disease. Here are some of the common signs that your wisdom teeth are erupting:

  • Pain at back of the mouth.  The pain will continue to increase as the teeth grow and press on nerves or crowd other teeth.
  • Redness, tenderness, and swelling at gum site where tooth is erupting.
  • If infected:
    • Bad breath
    • Foul taste in mouth while chewing
    • Jaw pain and stiffness
    • General illness

In rare cases, an impacted wisdom tooth that is left without treatment can develop cysts or sometimes tumors.

While there is some debate as to whether or not wisdom teeth need to be removed if they are not causing pain, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons recommends removing any wisdom teeth that are diseased or at risk for developing disease.  Monitoring the development of wisdom teeth and making a decision by age 25 to minimize potential complications and pain is advised.  Patients should be aware of the greater difficulty associated with removal of their wisdom teeth as they age.

Wisdom Teeth Monitoring Falmouth Dental Arts

So…be wise and talk to Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos about your own or your child’s wisdom teeth!  Early treatment greatly reduces the risk of complications later and helps keep you and your mouth healthy and happy.

If your wisdom teeth are causing you discomfort, or if you have questions about how your children’s wisdom teeth are developing, give us a call at 207.781.5900.  

* Image courtesy of

Choosing your mouthwash – it does make a difference

You’re at the grocery store and you come to the personal hygiene aisle. You are looking for a mouthwash, but you are instantly overwhelmed with the dozens of options to choose from all promising to reduce plaque, fight gingivitis, whiten teeth and so much more – but not all the claims are true. We have all been there. But don’t worry, we are here to offer you some helpful tips that will allow you to refine your search and pick out the perfect mouthwash to fit your needs!

We always talk about the importance of regular brushing and flossing, but using mouthwash regularly in your oral hygiene regimen is often overlooked. Studies have shown that regular use of mouthwash has undeniable benefits for your mouth. It cleans those hard to reach places that brushing can’t get to, rinses your whole mouth, and is proven to reduce gingivitis in those who use it regularly.

There are 3 major categories of mouthwash products from a consumer perspective. Here is what you need to know about each of them that will help you choose the perfect rinse for your mouth:

1.) Fluoride containing mouth rinses:

Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay in your mouth and strengthens enamel. But most people don’t need fluoride in their mouthwash because they already get it from the fluoridated toothpaste they use. But there are some exceptions. People with xerostomia (abnormally dry mouth) might use this because severe dry mouth might cause bacterial imbalance in the mouth, and too much bad bacteria can lead to tooth decay. Also, people with cavities can benefit from this kind of mouthwash. Here is a list of ADA approved fluoride mouth rinses 

2.) Mouthwashes to freshen breath:

Many of these mouthwashes will in fact freshen your breath, but they do not necessarily offer many (if any) long-term oral health benefits. The bacteria that cause bad breath are killed for the short term, but they will grow back.

3.) Anti-plaque or anti-gingivitis mouthwashes:

Adults are recommended to use this kind of mouthwash to supplement their brushing and flossing (although these are key components to oral health, we don’t always do a great job with these tasks, and this type of mouthwash can kills potentially damaging bacteria missed in brushing and flossing). If the mouthwash is ADA approved, that is the best, and they kill a much broader range of oral bacteria than the breath freshening rinses, which is better for your overall oral health. For people with more severe dental issues, contact us, we may prescribe you with a more powerful mouthwash that could help you! List of ADA approved anti-plaque and anti-gingivitis mouthwashes


Hope these tips help! Remember, mouth wash is no substitute for good brushing and flossing. All three together make for a powerful, effective, and healthy cleaning regimen!



Even Your Best Friend Won’t Tell You!

 It’s a situation that has happened to us all.

 A friend or relative comes close to talk to you, and when they open their mouth an odor comes pouring out that could knock out a racehorse from a mile away! But besides backing up a few feet and ending the conversation as soon as possible, what do you do?

 Of course you could just do nothing. But that is doing your friend a huge social disservice – and possibly not telling them of a negative health issue as well.

So how do you say something so uncomfortable to someone you care about? Here are two great answers we found while researching this question.

 “As your friend, it’s important to me that we’re always able to say the things that are hard to say, because that’s what real friends do for each other. I’m not comfortable mentioning this, though if it were me, I’d certainly want someone to say something. I don’t know if you’re aware – but sometimes your breath is quite noticeable. I read somewhere that this can be the result of a dental or medical problem, so I felt it was important to tell you.”

Or how about this one:

 “I just wanted to let you know that you’re just like me — we occasionally have bad breath! Here’s what I’ve found that helps.” Then give them mints, gum, or mouthwash. Then add, “The only reason I’m telling you this is that someone once told me the same thing and I realized how much it helped me. Fortunately I was able to find a great dentist who helped me take care of the problem!”

Of course so many things can cause bad breath – all the way from pungent foods like onions and garlic all the way to serious illnesses such as pneumonia, diabetes, and liver or kidney ailments.

 Some of the most common causes of bad breath, also known as halitosis, are seen every day in our dental office. Here are some examples:

  •  Dry mouth (which can be caused by many common medications, mouth breathing, or lack of saliva flow
  • Gum disease – this normally does not hurt or have obvious symptoms, but is extremely common and can cause unnecessary tooth loss
  • Cavities or ill-fitting dental restorations such as fillings and crowns
  • Poorly fitting dentures
  • Improper cleaning of the tongue, teeth and gums

 Whether it’s you or someone else you are concerned about, even periodic bad breath warrants a visit to the dentist. Usually the solution is a simple one, and it is just about always one that brings about better health as well.

So feel free to carry gum, breath mints, or small bottles of mouthwash with you wherever you go, either for you or to help (and drop a hint) to a breath-challenged friend. But please remember, a dental evaluation is always the best move when bad breath is around!

 At Falmouth Dental Arts, our goal is to keep you as healthy as possible at all times. Whether it is an issue with bad breath, beautifying your smile, or anything else, we are here to help you! Please give us a call at 207-781-5900 for an appointment or visit us on the web at Let’s make sure that every conversation you or your friends have is a breath of fresh air!

Your Best Friends Won’t Tell You (or Ewwww…..That Smell!!)

A common question we get in our dental office is – “What Causes Bad Breath?”

Many times the complaint is not from the offender but from a long suffering spouse or family member. There are many causes of bad breath (which we call “halitosis”) – some serious and some not. And while many people have decided to just hold their nose and live with it, the good news is diagnosing and treating bad breath is something that can easily be done.

Here is a list, in no particular order, of the reasons people may be slowly backing up during conversations:

Foods Containing Pungent Oils

Yes – garlic and onions are very healthy, but they also contain oils which may cause an unhealthy reaction to those around you. These odors come from the lungs, last up to 72 hours and can be tough to cover up. Mints, gum and rinses are your best bet – or make sure everyone around you has had the same yummy food as well!

Routine Illnesses
Colds, sore throats, coughs and sinus infections all cause yucky smelling mucus (or snot, depending on your age), to get trapped in our mouths, throats and noses, which causes foul breath until the illness is taken care of. Of course, if you have one of these highly contagious problems you shouldn’t be that close to someone anyway! If a sinus infection, sore throat, cough or cold doesn’t clear up in a few days to a week, you should probably see your physician to make sure things aren’t of a serious nature.

Dry Mouth
A dry mouth lets dead cells accumulate on your gums, tongue and cheeks. And while morning breath is a perfectly normal phenomenon due to lowered salivary activity at night – it shouldn’t last all day. Those who snore, mouth-breath, take certain medications, or even have lasted into middle age are prone to a dry mouth.

Smoking dries out your mouth (see above) and also, tobacco just plain stinks. If lung cancer and heart disease aren’t reason enough to give up the ciggies, maybe a constant foul mouth will help you make that life-saving decision.

Chronic Diseases or Conditions
Many serious diseases such as lung infections, kidney failure, diabetes, cancer, GERD, anorexia, bulimia and others can cause very specific types of halitosis. The good news is that these are on the rare side, but if anything along these lines is suspected, a referral to the appropriate practitioner is in order.

Poor Dental Hygiene and Gum Disease
Ahhh… this is our favorite! Not because we like people to have poor dental hygiene and gum disease, but because these are very common causes of bad breath and we can usually treat them quite easily. But please don’t wait too long! Gum disease, which usually starts with poor brushing and flossing habits as well as a lack of routine dental visits, can do much more than make your mouth stinky.

In just a short period of time, gum disease can advance and eat away at the gums and bone which hold your teeth in place. The result? Loose, unstable teeth which will eventually be lost if not treated. Catching gum disease early is great as treatment is typically conservative. Wait too long and it gets much more difficult and extensive.

Bad breath is not normal! Seeing your dentist and dental hygienist on a routine basis is your best bet for making sure your teeth and gums stay healthy, your smile stays bright, and your breath doesn’t cause others to run in the opposite direction.

If you have any questions about this or any other topic concerning you or someone you care about, please feel free to give us a call at 1-207-781-5900. Dr. Knock and Dr Vocal and their fantastic team are here to help you!