Tool used to remove bacteria, food particles and other debris from the surface of the tongue.
Brushing and flossing your teeth are important daily hygiene practices, but cleaning your tongue with a scraper is also a crucial step for removing bacteria and maintaining a clean mouth. You can get a similar effect if you simply brush your tongue a few times as you brush your teeth, but some experts say a dedicated scraping tool is better at removing plaque and bacteria from the tongue’s surface. Some studies suggest that removing bacteria by tongue scraping can improve bad breath even more than brushing. Other benefits of tongue scraping include improved taste, decreased risk of gum inflammation and cavities, and the removal of dead cells that can build up due to medication use, smoking or dry mouth.
The tongue cleaner set pictured here is made from food-grade silicone which scrapes more softly than metal and may decrease the chances of accidentally scraping too hard and damaging the taste buds or tongue. For this reason, silicone tongue cleaners may be a safer option for children who are still learning to clean their tongue. This particular brand has a harder side and a softer side to allow for more aggressive or less aggressive scraping, and the arc design of this scraper helps cover more surface of the tongue despite having a smaller sized head.
Tongue scraping is low risk but needs to be done gently. If you press as hard as you can on the scraper, you could potentially damage your taste buds or cut your tongue. It is easy to add tongue scraping to your brushing routine. First, brush and floss your teeth as usual. Then:
- Stick out your tongue.
- Start the scraper at the very back of the tongue.
- Using light pressure, run the scraper all the way to the front of the tongue (if if hurts or cuts your tonuge, you are using too much pressure).
- Rinse the scraper under warm water and repeat 2 or 3 times to clean the entire surface of the tongue, rinsing the scraper between each passing.
- Swish your mouth out with water afterward.
- Risne the scraper off once you are done and store it in a clean area (sanitize regularly with hot water or alchohol).
If your tongue give off any visual clues that it’s not healthy – like white, black or red discoloration, or sores or pain that perisists for mor ethan a week – make an appointment to visit with your dentist.
Where to purchase
Here’s a quick video on how to use a tongue scraper. Be sure to check out the other tongue scraper posts in this Online Guidebook for additional videos we’ve posted!