Did you know that the tongue can be the primary cause for bad breath? Some of the causes for bad breath include diets high in sulfur compounds (garlic and onions), dry mouth, periodontal disease, or gastric problems. At first glance, your tongue may seem like a pretty benign, ordinary structure in your mouth. At the microscopic level, the tongue looks like a thick carpet, made up of millions of papilla where odor-causing bacteria and food particles reside. Over time, the buildup that manifests gives the tongue a white or yellowish brown coated appearance. In more severe cases the actual diagnosis given is “hairy tongue,” when the tongue appears to have hairlike structures growing on the top surface. Now that we have discussed what can grow on your tongue, it’s easy to understand this problem can make your breath smell like something died inside your mouth! However, do not fear. For the most part, this problem is easily preventable. All it takes is 30 to 60 seconds of thorough brushing with toothpaste followed by a good rinse with water every day. Using a tongue scraper is also advised to help remove the debris once it has been loosened with the toothbrush. For severe cases, an antimicrobial rinse may be recommended.