A tongue scraper is a tool used to remove extra or foreign particles, particularly the ones that trigger bad breath, from your tongue’s surface. It’s usually a miniature, somewhat rounded, metal or plastic tool.
Although tongue scraping can barely replace toothbrushing, it does have some attractive benefits that have drawn some individuals to include this extra step in their evening and morning routines.
This article discusses easy ways tongue scraping can enhance your oral health, common mistakes to remember, and how to proceed.
Benefits of tongue scrapers
Over time, debris, bacteria, and even dead cells can accumulate on your tongue. This, of course, will result in bad breath as well as harming your overall oral health. The use of a tongue scraper can aid in cleaning up this accumulation.
Other benefits of the tongue scraper include:
Enhances your sense of taste
Earlier research suggests that using a tongue scraper two times every day can improve your sense of taste. Your tongue tends to enhance its discernment between bitter, sweet, salty, and sour sensations.
It makes your tongue look better
Accumulation of excess debris can result in your tongue having a white, coated appearance. Daily usage of the tongue scraper can aid in taking off this coating and keep it from returning.
In a 2005 study, researchers discovered that tongue scraping twice every day, for seven days mitigates the overall occurrence of Mutans streptococci and Lactobacilli bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria types are renowned for triggering bad breath and dental decay.
Improve overall health
Getting rid of bacteria is essential in inhibiting the development of cavities, gum disease, and other mouth-related conditions. Tongue scraping can help remove these bacteria from the mouth, enhancing the appearance and overall sensation of your tongue in the process.
Mitigates the occurrence of bad breath
Although the use of a tongue scraper can’t substitute the use of a toothbrush, scraping tends to do some things better. In one 2004 study, researchers discovered that scraping was more potent than brushing at getting rid of odor-causing bacteria.
Typical misconceptions about tongue scraping
One of the typical misconceptions about tongue scraping is that it provides extended benefits in mitigating bad breath. Although tongue scraping can aid in eliminating bad breath, consistency is vital.
For instance, making use of a tongue scraper in the early hours of the day won’t stop bad breath from developing later in the day. Bacteria will accumulate as you eat and drink, so if you’re worried about bad breath, you’ll need to scrape your tongue after every meal.
At least, it would help if you scraped your tongue whenever you brush your teeth. This will aid in inhibiting long-term accumulation that’s affiliated with serious bad breath.
Another misconception about tongue scraping is that using a toothbrush on your tongue is just as potent as using a tongue scraper. The findings of one 2004 study reveal something different.
Researchers discovered that tongue scrapers got rid of 30% more mutable sulfur compounds on the tongue’s surface than a soft-bristled toothbrush. Although making use of a toothbrush to cleanse your tongue is a better option than not cleaning it at all, tongue scraping is more potent.
How to scrape your tongue?
To execute tongue scraping, you’ll need the proper tool, which is a tongue scraper. A quick search for tongue scrapers can present several options. These options include the ones made from plastic, copper, and stainless steel.
Most of them will have a somewhat rounded shape, similar to an inverted spoon. An alternative to a tongue scraper is household items like spoons or toothbrushes. The only downside is that they may not get rid of as much odor-causing bacteria as a tongue scraper.
To properly scrape your tongue, follow these steps:
- Stand before a mirror, open your mouth, and bring forth your tongue
- Mildly place the rounded end of the tongue scraper at the rear of your tongue
- If you’re concerned about gagging, you should start at the mid-section of your tongue. You can eventually start from further back as you get accustomed to scraping
- Mildly place the scraper on your tongue. Leisurely drag it forward, toward the tip of your tongue. It would be best if you didn’t ever attempt to push the scraper from the tip of your tongue backward. Always pull from the rear of the tongue to the front
- After every scrape, make use of a washcloth or tissue to get rid of debris from the scraper
- Do the process again until you’ve scraped the whole surface of your tongue. Between one and two scrapes across the same area is usually enough.
- Cleanse the tongue scraper with warm water and soap, dry it, and keep it in a clean, dry area
The whole scraping process normally takes not more than two minutes. Redo the process as much as you want throughout the day.
Side effects of tongue scraping
One of the most common worries about tongue scraping is awakening the gag reflex. This could cause you to vomit while carrying out the process of scraping your tongue. To prevent this, desist from setting the scraper too far back on your tongue.
If you are new to scraping, you may find it more convenient to scrape from the mid-section of your tongue to the tip. You can eventually work your way farther back as you get accustomed to the sensation.
It’s also likely to injure the surface of your tongue with the scraper mistakenly. To avoid this occurrence, ensure your tongue scraper doesn’t have any jagged or rough edges.
Always thoroughly inspect your scraper before each use to make sure that it’s still okay to use. It would be best if you also were careful of the amount of pressure you apply.
You will want to be mild enough to prevent impairing your taste buds or even cutting the skin, but yet applying just the right pressure to wipe off excess debris. It’s recommended you begin soft and slowly increase the pressure.
Tongue-scrapers to buy
Tongue scrapers can be manufactured with plastic or different metals. Whichever one you opt for will hinge on your individual preference. Metal tongue scrapers are usually believed to have a longer duration.
Many tongue scrapers are dishwasher-safe too. Plastic scrapers are typically more affordable but may require to be changed more frequently. Most tongue scrapers cost up to $10.
Examples of some of the well-known and highly rated tongue scrapers on Amazon include:
- WowE tongue cleaner
- Sunstar GUM dual action tongue cleaner
- Pureline Oralcare tongue cleaner
- The Original TUNG Brush tongue cleaner
Alternative ways of enhancing your oral health
Tongue scraping might have its benefits, but you won’t attain your dream results if you aren’t implementing a more balanced oral hygiene approach.
You can play a role in sustaining and even enhance your overall oral health if you do the following:
- Ensure you make use of fluoride-based toothpaste and mouthwash to help inhibit the development of cavities.
- Brush your teeth and gums at least two times every day.
- Ensure you brush for a minimum of two minutes. You can keep track of this by setting a timer or playing a song on your phone to help you make sure each session is long enough.
- Floss at least once daily to get rid of stubborn debris between your teeth.
- Drink enough water all through the day to mitigate oral dryness, a definitive cause of bad breath.
- Stay away from the usage of tobacco products, which plays a part in the buildup on the tongue.
You should make sure you meet with your dentist for frequent checkups and cleanings. Many dentists recommend cleanings twice yearly, but you may need to go more regularly, depending on your overall dental health.