Tongue scraping provides plenty of health benefits that make it an understated but crucial addition to your everyday oral hygiene routine.
Your tongue is like a sponge where bad bacteria, debris, and food particles can get trapped, leading to unpleasant consequences if left unattended. This can result in unwanted debris build-up, which can lead to bad breath (halitosis), plaque build-up, and even tooth decay.
However, is it worth investing in a tongue scraper? According to evidence-based research – yes! Read on to learn more about the benefits of tongue scraping, and why you should be using a tongue scraper!
What is a tongue scraper?
Your tongue has an irregular surface full of cracks and crevices where extra particles can get trapped. Like a carpet, your tongue needs to get cleaned regularly.
This is where the tongue scraper comes in.
A tongue scraper is a simple tool usually made from plastic or metal that is dragged along your tongue. This removes the build-up of extra particles from the surface of your tongue.
What are the benefits of tongue scraping?
A build-up of excess particles, debris, and bacteria on your tongue over time can be detrimental to your oral hygiene. Tongue scraping maintains the balance of bacteria in your mouth by removing any excess bacteria, in addition to leftover food particles and debris.
Other benefits include:
- Reduce bad breath (halitosis). Bad breath is due to bacteria trapped by the surface of the tongue. This bacteria produces sulphur compounds which are responsible for the bad odours. Tongue scraping significantly reduces the presence of this bacteria compared to toothbrushing alone.
- Remove excess bacteria and debris. Besides removing odour-producing bacteria, tongue scraping also reduces the presence of Strep. Mutans which is known to cause tooth decay. Moreover, preventing the build-up of excess particles and debris is a preventative measure from developing cavities, gum disease, and other such dental conditions.
- Reduces plaque. Tongue scraping regularly is effective in reducing plaque.
- Keeps your taste buds healthy. Excess debris can obstruct your taste bud’s ability to distinguish between bitter, sweet, salty and sour sensations. Using a tongue scraper consistently to remove debris has been proven to improve your sense of taste.
- Boosts your immunity. Tongue scraping prevents toxins from being reabsorbed into the body and overall boosts your immune system.
- Instantly improve the appearance of the tongue. A build-up of debris can cause a white coating to form on your tongue. Tongue scraping can remove this coating and restore your tongue to its normal colour.
How effective is a tongue scraper?
Tongue scraping is effective when performed on a consistent daily basis. If you want to see results you must scrape your tongue regularly. But why use a tongue scraper? Why not a toothbrush?
Whilst your oral hygiene will improve overall if you add tongue-cleaning to your routine, using a tongue scraper is especially effective for tongue-cleaning.
A tongue scraper is structured to fit the natural shape of your tongue. RW Perio have created their bespoke tongue scraper made of metal rather than plastic, ensuring it will last forever and is eco-friendly. Our tongue scraper is specifically fit for your tongue and therefore its design maximises its effectiveness against excess bacteria, debris, and particle build-up. Research has shown that a tongue scraper can reduce 30% more sulphur-producing bacteria than a toothbrush.
How do you use a tongue scraper?
Daily tongue-scraping is not a lengthy process and should take less than two minutes to perform.
Follow these steps to carry out a tongue-scraping:
- Open your mouth and stick out your tongue. Avoid pointing your tongue as this decreases the surface area.
- Hold your tongue scraper and place it at the back of your tongue. Do it at a comfortable distance, not so far back that you trigger your gag reflex.
- Apply firm pressure to the tongue scraper and in one slow smooth motion slide it down to the front of your tongue.
- Rinse the tongue scraper of any residue it has picked up.
- Repeat steps 2-4 for a maximum of four to eight times.
- When you’re done, rinse your mouth with water or preferably mouthwash.
Some other things you should keep in mind:
- Clean your tongue scraper before and after you use it
- Periodically disinfect your tongue scraper in boiling water
- Ideally replace your tongue scraper every 3-4 months, or whenever you replace your toothbrush
- If your gag reflex is too sensitive during a tongue scraping, avoid doing it after you’ve eaten
Is tongue scraping safe?
Whilst tongue-scraping has many health benefits, it is not a replacement for brushing your teeth. You should be using a tongue scraper as a beneficial addition to ensure optimum levels of oral health. You should be brushing your teeth and cleaning your tongue twice a day and rinsing your mouth with mouthwash afterwards. Flossing is equally important and should be done once a day.
The best time to use a tongue scraper is after you brush your teeth as the last step in your home care regime.
Moreover, whilst you should be firm when using a tongue-scraper, avoid pushing it too hard or roughly on your tongue. The tongue is a resilient organ, but tongue-scraping too harshly or too often can damage your taste buds and even cause bleeding. Be gentle, but firm. Be consistent, but not overly frequent.
Buying a tongue scraper
Stainless steel, copper, and plastic are the most common materials tongue scrapers are made of. There are many plastic versions on the market. However, this is a tool that you should be using daily and so requires a resilient structure.
At RW Perio we have designed the eco-friendly tongue scraper available for purchase at our online shop.
If you have any concerns about your oral health, you can book an appointment with us or give us a call at our specialist clinic located on 75 Harley Street. Ready to read more? Take a look at our other blogs if you are interested in learning further about dental care.