Even if you consider yourself to be an oral hygiene pro, you could be missing an important step that could be holding you back from a perfectly clean mouth.
Your tongue is covered in thousands of little bumps called papillae, more colloquially known as taste buds. These taste buds can accumulate bacteria, dead cells, and other particles that can cause bad breath, tooth decay, and infections. Also, the buildup of these yucky particles on your tongue can lead to a decreased sense of taste. So, what can be done? Tongue scraping!
What is tongue scraping?
Tongue scraping is an effective way to remove yucky bad-breath-causing particles from your tongue. When paired with effective brushing, it can help keep your mouth fresh and clean. Tongue scrapers are small rounded tools that are typically made of plastic or metal.
Toothy Tip: The AutoBrush automatic tongue scraper attaches easily to your AutoBrush toothbrush base, making tongue scraping easy as pie!
Read on to find out how tongue scraping can benefit you, the misconceptions surrounding tongue scraping, and how to get started.
What are the benefits of tongue scraping?
As dead cells, bacteria, and other debris coat the tongue, it can lead to negative overall oral health. Using a tongue scraper can help remove this debris, as well as helping with:
- Improve sense of taste: Research has shown that using a tongue scraper twice daily can improve your sense of taste, leading to a heightened sense of sweet, sour, and salty food tastes.
- Improve tongue appearance: Try looking in the mirror. Do you see a white film coating your tongue? Well, then it may be time to give tongue scraping a shot. After a while, the buildup of dead cells and other particles can have a noticeable effect on your tongue. Scraping it off can give your tongue the makeover it needs!
- Mitigate bad breath: As we mentioned before, the buildup of bacteria, dead cells, and other particles can lead to bad breath. Using a tongue scraper can help you maintain a minty clean mouth.
- Improve Health: Studies have shown that removing bacteria from your mouth is essential to help prevent gum disease, cavities, and other oral health issues. Tongue scraping can help remove the causes of these health issues.
What happens when you don’t brush your tongue?
Most of the benefits of tongue scraping come from consistency. For example, if you scrape your tongue in the morning, it won’t prevent you from having bad breath by the end of the day. Because of this, it’s recommended to scrape your tongue either twice a day or after every meal.
How to scrape your tongue
To perform a tongue scraping, you need the right tool for the job - a tongue scraper. These come in many sizes and materials, including stainless steel, copper, or plastic.
Follow the steps below to ensure you know how to clean your tongue with a tongue scraper properly:
- Stand in front of a mirror and stick out your tongue
- Set the rounded end of the scraper against the back of your tongue
- Gently pull the scraper from the back of your tongue to the tip
- After scraping, wash the scraper with water or a towel to remove any residue
- Repeat until the residue on your tongue has been removed. Usually a few scrapes will do the trick
- Make sure you clean your scraper thoroughly with soap and water, then store in a dry place to prevent mold or mildew from forming.
Are there any cons from tongue scraping?
The biggest issue that people have with tongue scraping is their gag reflex. Pushing the scraper to the back of the tongue can cause gagging, or in some cases, even vomiting. Don’t fret! You’re most likely not used to the scraper yet. If you’re wondering how to scrape your tongue without throwing up, we’ve got you covered.
If you’re having issues with your gag reflex getting in the way, try starting small. Place the scraper in the middle of your tongue rather than all the way back. Over time, you can slowly work your way to the back of your tongue.
Also, it’s possible to cut your tongue while using a scraper. To prevent this, inspect your scraper before each use to ensure it does not have any uneven or rough edges.
Be mindful of the amount of pressure you’re using, as too much can result in cuts on your tongue.
Tongue scraping is a very beneficial activity to throw into your dental care regimen; however, it’s not a catch-all for dental health. Ensure you’re doing the most you can - such as brushing and flossing - to cover all your bases when it comes to dental hygiene.
If you’re dealing with chronic dental health issues such as dry mouth, “hairy tongue”, or others, be sure to schedule a visit with your dentist right away to treat them.