When you brush every day do you clean your tongue too? Probably not! It is easy to miss the tongue, however, it is important to use a tongue cleaner for better oral health.
The bacteria in your mouth also accumulate on your tongue.
Hence, in order to fight bad breath and other oral health problems, you need to clean it too.
There are specific tools for cleaning your tongue but you can also simply use the back of your toothbrush.
This article discusses the different tongue cleaners and how they can help maintain good oral hygiene. Keep reading to know more!
What Is a Tongue Cleaner?
Anything that cleanses your tongue thoroughly is a cleaner.
It can be a tongue scraper, the back of your toothbrush, a toothbrush or a tongue brush.
A tongue brush is specially designed to clean the services of the tongue.
While it may be similar to a scraper, it actually has bristles.
It can remove the bacteria that create an unpleasant smell in your mouth.
The oral bacteria that collects in your mouth results in bad breath thanks to volatile sulfur compounds.
A tongue brush can effectively remove them reducing the odor-causing bacteria.
Nowadays some products combine a toothbrush and a tongue brush for cleaning teeth and brushing the tongue with the same too.
This is the most common tool to clean your tongue.
It can remove particles and bacteria settling on your tongue.
The tool is round in shape and made of plastic material.
Though, it could also be made from metal, copper or stainless steel.
You simply have to scrape your tongue by putting its edge on the back of your tongue.
A tongue scraper and a tongue brush may be equally better at removing particles that cause bad breath.
However, they are more efficient than using a toothbrush.
This brings us to…
If you do not have a tongue brush or scraper, you still have a toothbrush to clean your tongue.
It cannot work as effectively as the other two options as a toothbrush will not clean the crevices as well.
Though, you can get a toothbrush with bristles on the front and a tongue cleaner on the back.
Using it would be at least better than not cleaning the tongue at all.
Hence, whenever you pick your toothbrush either electric or manual, go for one that has the cleaner on the back.
Benefits of Using a Tongue Cleaner
Removes Bacteria in Your Mouth
Using a tongue cleaning tool such as a scraper or brush can reduce the bacteria, Lactobacilli and Mutans Streptococci in your mouth.
Hence, removing them improves your dental health reducing the chances of getting inflammation in gums and cavities.
They will not simply go away by brushing your teeth because some can settle on your tongue.
Hence, if you skip cleaning it you will have chronic bad breath and may develop other oral health problems.
As the Bacteria Reduce, The Bad Breath Goes Too
This bacteria is responsible for causing bad breath hence when your scrape or brush them out, they no longer release volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs).
However, remember that cleaning the tongue by scraping or brushing does not replace brushing teeth.
Hence, you will still need to brush in order to have good oral health.
Does that mean brushing is enough to remove the bacteria on the tongue causing bad breath?
Not at all!
In fact, scraping is better than brushing to eliminate bad breath.
Therefore, you have to combine the two for oral hygiene and a fresher breath.
Making it a daily habit helps to keep your breath fresh at all times.
Better Sense of Taste
As you clean off your tongue, you begin with a fresh palate.
The cleaners not only scrape off the bacteria but also other particles.
Thus you can taste better right after cleaning.
You can sense flavors more strongly whether they are bitter, salty, spicy, sour or sweet.
Improves the Way Your Tongue Looks
If your tongue has been accumulating bacteria, debris and other particles, do you think it will look pink? Probably not.
All of this will give it a whiter appearance.
Especially the debris, hence cleaning daily will remove this coated look.
If you clean it regularly then the white color can slowly change into the tongue’s natural pink color.
Better Oral Health
If there are fewer bacteria on your tongue then that means there are fewer bacteria inside your mouth.
Bad breath is not the only way for these bacteria to impact your oral health.
However, if you clean daily then these bacteria will not harm your overall health.
Rather your tongue will become cleaner, pink in color and you will have an enhanced sense of taste.
What It Cannot Improve?
You may think that once you clean your tongue you are good to go, however, bad breath can return later in the day.
Consistently scraping and cleaning will make a big difference in your breath.
Though realistically if you only clean it in the morning and have meals plus drinks throughout the day then bacteria will keep accumulating on your tongue and teeth.
Your food choices matter too.
If you eat something that has a pungent smell then your breath will not be fresh, rather it will stink.
If your breath bothers you a lot and you want it to remain fresh at all times then you will have to clean your tongue after every meal.
Though cleaning twice a day along with whenever your toothbrush can combat severe bad breath.
That said, a tongue scraper or cleaner specifically designed to get rid of the bacteria present on the tongue is better than using a toothbrush.
A toothbrush is certainly better than nothing.
However, a scraper can clean up to 30 percent VSCs more than a toothbrush.
These volatile sulfur compounds are actually behind the bad smell.
If a scraper cleans them better then your first choice should be to use it.
However, if you do not have them then cleaning with a toothbrush is crucial instead of completely skipping the tongue.
Using a Tongue Cleaner
Ideally, you should use it twice a day whenever you brush i.e. in the morning and night.
You can do so after or before you brush but since your tongue is quite sensitive, you can leave it as the last step.
Brush, floss, and rinse as usual. Then gently scrape your tongue applying less pressure.
Do it as follows:
- Stick out your tongue
- Rinse your tongue cleaner to remove dirt and debris.
- Bring the round part of the scraper at the back of your tongue or you can start from the middle and then proceed backward slowly in case there is a risk of gagging.
- Bring the scraper or brush from the back or middle slowly and gently pull it forward near the tip.
- It should not hurt, if it does, you are applying too much pressure.
- After you are done scraping and brushing, remove the debris by rinsing or using a tissue.
- Keep doing it to cover the entire tongue not skipping the sides. Repeat once or twice.
- After you are done wash the tool with warm water and soap. Let it dry in a clean area.
- Swish your mouth with water to complete the routine.
A tongue brush works in a similar manner as the scraper.
You should only move the two from the back to the tip and not the other way around.
Also do not miss the sides and top surface.
Clean it thoroughly not missing out any place but also gently.
This cleaning only takes 2 minutes of your day but can give you a fresher breather and better oral hygiene.
Side Effects Of Cleaning
You can harm your taste buds or even break your skin if you are not gentle.
Hence, you need to apply reasonable pressure.
You cannot be too light as that will not scrape away the debris.
Hence, apply pressure that does not hurt your tongue but you also see it removing debris.
Moreover, cleaning your tongue using any tool can stimulate a gag reflex.
This can make you discontinue the activity.
You should not go as far so that you start gagging.
Rather in the initial days, only start cleaning from the middle.
And then gradually go a little further each day as you get familiar to the sensation.
You risk cutting the tongue’s surface with these tools too.
Harshly using them can cause this damage.
Also if the cleaner has rough edges and is uneven in some parts then that could leave some unpleasant cuts.
Hence, check your cleaner whether it is a scraper or a brush to see if it is smooth and without any unevenness.
Only use it when it is completely safe to use.
Using a tongue cleaner can reduce the bacteria in your mouth giving you better oral health.
However, using it properly is crucial.
Thus, include it in your oral hygiene routine to get rid of the unpleasant breath.