Tongue scraping is a simple process of running a simple tool across your tongue. This process helps to kill bacteria, food particles, and other debris from the surface of the tongue.
Many people have used it for a couple of centuries, and evidence suggests that Romans did too.
Moreover, Victorians and even George Washington used tongue scrapers for dental troubles as well.
Although good tooth brushing cannot replace the use of scraping, however, it has a number of benefits.
Thus, adding it to your morning and evening routines has a number of benefits to your overall dental and oral health.
Keep on reading to learn more about tongue scraping, its benefits, using it, and more in this guide.
Benefits of Tongue Scraping
There are a number of benefits of tongue scraping. Debris, bacteria, and dead cells can accumulate or build up on the surface of your tongue over time.
This can lead to bad breath which has a negative effect on your overall health.
Using a tongue scraper can help remove this build-up, as well as the following:
Improves the Sense of Taste
Research suggests that using tongue scrapers twice a day regularly can help to improve your sense of taste.
Your tongue may be able to better differentiate between bitter, sweet, salty, and sour sensations.
Appearance of Tongue
Accumulation or build-up of excess debris can cause your tongue to take on a white-coated appearance.
Daily scraping your tongue can help remove this coating as well as prevent it from returning.
Another research suggests that using a tongue scraper can help reduce the overall incidence of Mutans streptococci and Lactobacilli in your mouth.
Moreover, these bacteria are known to cause bad breath and tooth decay.
Improve Overall Health
To prevent cavities, gum diseases, and other conditions that can affect your oral health, it is important to prevent and remove bacterial growth in your mouth.
Tongue scraping can help to clear these bacteria from your mouth
Thus, improving your overall tongue’s appearance and overall sensations.
Reduce Bad Breath
Although using a tongue scraper does not replace the importance of good tooth brushing, it can do some better things.
Another research suggests that scraping your tongue is more effective than brushing at removing odor, causing bacteria.
How to perform Tongue Scraping?
To perform tongue scraping you need the right too, i.e. tongue scraper.
Quick research in the market for tongue scrapers can show a lot of options available. Moreover, these include ones that are made from plastic, copper, or stainless steel.
Most of these will have a slightly round shape, much like an inverted spoon.
If you are in a pinch, household items like a spoon or your toothbrush will also do.
However, they do not remove as much odor-causing bacteria as a tongue scraper will.
To perform tongue scraping, follow the instructions below:
Stand in front of the mirror, open your mouth, and stick your tongue out. Gently set the round end of the tongue scraper at the back of your tongue.
If you are worried about gagging, then you may find it helpful to start at the middle of the tongue.
You can thus, gradually start from farther back as you get used to this process.
While scraping your tongue, gently touch the scraper and slowly pull it forward towards the tip of your tongue.
Keep in mind that you should never push the scraper from the tip of your tongue in a backward motion.
Always go from the back of your tongue to the tip of it.
After each scrape, use a washcloth or a tissue to remove the debris from the tongue scraper.
Repeat the process until you have cleaned the entire surface of the tongue, and 1 or 2 scrapes across the same area are often enough.
Lastly, wash the tongue scraper with warm water and you can use soap to clean it as well,
Dry it and store it in a clean and dry area.
The complete process of scraping your tongue takes only 2 minutes or even less. Repeat the process as needed throughout the day.
Certain Misconceptions about Tongue Scraping
One of the common misconceptions about tongue scraping is that it offers extended benefits in reducing bad breath
Although it can help reduce it, however, consistency is the key.
For instance, using a tongue scrape in the morning will not help to prevent bad breath that might develop later in the day.
During the day, bacteria will build up when you either drink or eat, thus, if you are concerned about bad breath, you will need to use a scraper after every meal as well.
However, you can also scrape your tongue when you brush your teeth, and this will help to prevent the long-term build-up that is causing bad breath.
Another misconception about tongue scraping is that using a toothbrush on your tongue is also just as effective as using a tongue scraper.
But according to a study, suggests otherwise.
Research suggests that tongue scrapers help to remove about 30% of the more volatile sulfur compounds on the tongue than a soft-bristled toothbrush.
Although cleaning your tongue with a toothbrush is better than not cleaning it at all, using a tongue scraper is more effective than the former one.
Potential Side Effects and Risks
One of the biggest concerns about scraping your tongue is stimulating the gag reflex.
This can make you vomit while scraping your tongue. To avoid this situation, avoid placing the scraper too far back on your tongue.
While you begin to scrape for the first time, you may find it helpful to start from the middle of your tongue to the tip.
Moreover, with time, you can gradually start from the farthest point of your tongue to get used to the sensations.
In some cases, it is also possible to accidentally cut the surface of your tongue with a scraper.
To prevent this, make sure your tongue scraper does not have uneven or rough edges.
You should always inspect your tongue scraper before using it every time to make sure that it is safe to use.
Moreover, you should be mindful of how much pressure you are applying to your tongue.
To avoid any harm to your taste buds, or breaking the skin, be gentle enough.
However, it should be firm enough to scrape up excess debris and bacteria from the surface of your tongue.
When in doubt. start soft and gradually increase the pressure.
The Best Products for Tongue Scraping
The following is a list of tongue scrapers you can choose from:
Best Overall: Dr. Tung’s Tongue Cleaner
You might find this one as a simple one, but its small portable and ultra-hygienic or stainless steel is easy to disinfect than other materials.
Moreover, it has 2 soft-grip handles that are used to place in your hand. It is also cost-effective and is gentle enough to do its job carefully and effectively.
Best Budget: Classic Concepts Tongue Scraper 2-Pack
If you like tongue scrapers made of stainless steel and do not want to put an extra strain on your budget, you can use this one.
This one is a powerful, effective, and highly cost-effective tongue scraper that works like a toothbrush with a single-handed operation.
They are made of medical-grade stainless steel, thus making them durable and easy to clean.
Best Scraper and Brush Combo: GUM Dual Action Tongue Cleaner Brush and Scraper
If you are unable to decide whether you want a brush or a scrape for your tongue, then this one is the right option for you.
This product does both: one side of the head features 2 rows of plastic ridges for scraping, while the other side has 2 rows of bristles for brushing.
It is made of plastic for steel, the tool that has a narrow head, thus, making it a breeze to reach the hard places in your mouth.
Best for Bad Breath: Orabrush Tongue Cleaner
If you are looking for a product that works more like a toothbrush, then Orabrush tongue clean is a great option for you.
It had micro-pointed bristles that deep cleans, however, you do not brush your tongue with them.
You will scrape the bristle along the surface of your tongue to lose and lift up the gunk, and let the scraper edge of the tool finish the job.
Many experts believe that it is not a long-term solution for bad breath, however, it does works for a short period of time.
Other Ways to Improve Oral Health
Tongue scraping can be beneficial for your oral health, however, you will not get the desired results if you are not taking care of your oral health with a rounded approach.
You can help maintain and improve your oral health if you:
Use a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash that helps to fight cavities, brush your teeth and gums at least twice a day.
Brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes, and for this, you can set a timer or play a song to help ensure that each session is long enough.
Moreover, floss your teeth and gums at least once a day to remove tough to reach debris between your teeth.
Drink enough water as it helps to reduce dry mouth, which is a common cause of bad breath.
Avoid using tobacco and its by-products which can contribute to buildup on your tongue.
It is important to visit your dentist regularly for dental checkups and cleanings.
Most dentists recommend dental cleaning twice a year, however, you may need more depending on your overall dental health.
Visiting your Dentist
Although methods like tongue scraping can help reduce tongue build-up, however, it is not a definite cure.
Visit your dentist if you are dealing with a chronic dry mouth or have a hairy tongue.
They can assess your symptoms and determine whether you will benefit from frequent cleaning, special mouthwash, or other treatment.
In some cases, tongue scraping can reveal other symptoms that your dentist can evaluate. This includes white patches and is usually present due to oral thrush, or leukoplakia.
If you want to remove extra particles like debris, bacteria, etc from the surface of your tongue that causes bad breath then tongue scraping is a good option.
However, if you have chronic bad breath and it does not go away, visit your dentist as they can evaluate your situation and devise a proper treatment plan for you.