You brush your teeth twice each day. You floss and use a mouthwash, and visit your dentist’s office when you’re supposed to. But do you scrape your tongue? Some research suggests tongue scrapers can banish bad breath and improve your overall oral health. Let’s look at how they work.
What Is A Tongue Scraper And Why Should I Use One?
A tongue scraper is a device that’s designed to remove bacteria, debris, and dead cells from the surface of your tongue. If the bacteria builds up it can cause bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease.
How healthy is your tongue? If it has a yellow or white coating, the chances are it could do with a scraping. There are several factors that might cause a coated tongue including:
Poor oral hygiene
Tongue Scrapers: The Benefits of Using Them
They banish bad breath
Bad breath can make you really self-conscious. Tongue scraping is not the only way to get rid of bad breath. However since tongue scrapers are fairly cheap and easy to use, it can’t hurt to try it.
Since the research on their effectiveness is pretty limited, you should use them as an extra step in your existing oral health care routine. To get rid of bad breath for good:
Replace your tooth brush every 3-4 months
Chew sugar-free gum in between meals
Drink plenty of water-a dry mouth can cause bad breath
Use a tooth cleaner regularly to get rid of bacteria and other debris in hard to reach places
They improve the appearance of your tongue
Let’s face it, a white or yellow coating on your tongue looks a bit gross. Using a tongue scraper will help reduce any build up of bacteria so people check out your smile for the right reasons.
You’ll be able to taste things better
If you’ve got a thick coating covering your taste buds, your sense of taste won’t be so good. Using a tongue scraper will help you taste everything you eat and drink properly.
You’ll have better oral health
If you reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth by tongue scraping, this can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
Why Can’t I Use a Toothbrush to Clean My Tongue?
You could, except it probably won’t be as effective. A 2006 review found that tongue scrapers removed more volatile sulphur compounds from the tongue than toothbrushes. It’s these compounds that contribute towards bad breath.
Then there’s the fact that toothbrushes are generally more chunky than a tongue scraper. Try to reach the back of your tongue with a standard brush head and you’ll probably set off your gag reflex.
How Do You Use a Tongue Scraper?
Using a tongue scraper to improve your oral health is easy. Just follow these steps:
Stick your tongue out as far as you can
Put the scraper near the back of your tongue-as far as you can get without gagging
Make sure it’s flat against your tongue, apply a little pressure, and slowly pull it forwards toward the tip of your tongue
Spit out any saliva and debris, and be sure to clean any off your scraper
Repeat several times until you have covered as much of the tongue’s surface as possible
Rinse the scraper under warm running water and leave it to dry
When Should I Use My Tongue Scraper?
Use your tongue scraper after brushing your teeth, as an extra step. If you are worried about bad breath, scrape your tongue after drinking coffee, smoking, or eating strong-smelling foods too.
What Type of Tongue Scraper Should I Choose?
There are several different type of tongue scraper on the market. Here’s a quick guide to each.
Plastic tongue scrapers usually have a long handle and a tip with bars to scrape the tongue. You may not be able to cover your entire tongue at once, so several scrapings are necessary. You’ll also need to replace a plastic scraper every 3-4 months.
Metal scrapers are often U shaped. This gives you two handles to hold on to which allows greater control of where and how you position the scraper. The beauty of a metal scraper is they can often cover your entire tongue in one go. While they are more expensive than plastic scrapers, they’ll last longer and are more eco-friendly.
Copper has antimicrobial properties. A copper tongue scraper can last a long time if you look after it. For longevity, dry it off completely after each use.
So there you have it, tongue scrapers make a worthwhile addition to your oral care routine, especially if you’re concerned about bad breath.
For more articles on oral health and the products you need for a healthy smile, check out the rest of our blog.