Most often, oral hygiene is believed to be just about keeping the teeth clean. But it’s more than just that. Your tongue is where a lot of the bacteria in your mouth are, so it’s just as important to keep it clean as well.
Those who believe cleaning the tongue is important often either use the bristles or the rubbery surface at the back of their toothbrushes. However, research suggests that using a tongue scraper is the best way to keep the tongue clean.1
Wondering why? Here are 5 ways using a tongue scraper regularly is likely to benefit you.
5 Benefits Of Using A Tongue Scraper
1. Protects Your Teeth
While you may be taking great care of your teeth brushing them twice every day and going to a dentist for regular checkups, you could be exposing them to harm in other ways by not scraping your tongue. An unscraped tongue is a breeding place for loads of bacteria. The more the bacteria in your mouth, the more the chances of dental cavities.2 So, start scraping your tongue today not just for a clean tongue but also healthy teeth!
2. Eliminates Bad Breath
Bad breath can be really problematic. It may make you self-conscious, lower your confidence, and ruin social engagements for you because you’re radiating a nasty stink every time you open your mouth.3 Scraping your tongue regularly alongside brushing your teeth can do wonders for your bad breath. It eliminates the accumulated germs and bacteria on your tongue contributing to the stink, helping you regain your confidence.4
3. Makes Eating Enjoyable
The taste buds on your tongue are responsible for you relishing all the yummy food you eat.5 Not cleaning your tongue regularly results in bacteria forming a layer on your tongue, preventing your taste buds from functioning well. Use a tongue scraper every day to prevent the growth of these bacteria, so your taste buds can be exposed to the yummy ingredients in your food, allowing you to enjoy the food you eat!
4. Keeps Your Gums Healthy And Strong
Healthy gums are also an important part of oral health. If you don’t clean your tongue often, bacteria are bound to build up in your mouth. This, in turn, may lead to gum disease and eventually weak teeth. So, use a tongue scraper every day to keep your gums and teeth healthy.
5. Improves Digestion
Contrary to popular belief, digestion actually begins in the mouth, not in the stomach.6 And it’s important for the starting point of digestion to be free from harmful bacteria and germs before you start eating. This prevents you from swallowing them with your food, reducing the chances of being affected by illnesses. Scraping your tongue helps you rid your mouth of these harmful bacteria, which would have otherwise affected your digestion.
Tips For Using A Tongue Scraper
What Type Of Tongue Scraper You Should Use
- The most common kinds of tongue scrapers available in the market are those made of plastic, stainless steel, and copper. Know that all types clean perfectly well, so you may choose whichever one you want.
- However, you should probably avoid metal tongue scrapers if you tend to get cuts easily.
How To Use A Tongue Scraper
- Place the tongue scraper at the back of your tongue, and gently move it forward till the tip. Repeat this 2–3 times.
- Avoid being too harsh on your tongue as it may leave you with a burning sensation and may even harm your taste buds.
When You Should Change Your Tongue Scraper
- While tongue scrapers can last for a very long time, it’s best not to use them for years together. If you use a plastic tongue scraper, change it every 2–3 months; if you use one made of metal, change it every 3–4 months.
- If you notice wear and tear in your tongue scraper, stop using it immediately and replace it with a new one.
- It is perfectly fine to use a tongue scraper once or twice a day. If you want to use it more than twice, seek professional medical advice first.
- If your tongue burns or bleeds when using a tongue scraper, stop using it immediately and seek medical help.
|↑1||Pedrazzi, Vinícius, Sandra Sato, Maria da Glória Chiarello de Mattos, Elza Helena Guimarães Lara, and Heitor Panzeri. “Tongue-cleaning methods: a comparative clinical trial employing a toothbrush and a tongue scraper.” Journal of periodontology 75, no. 7 (2004): 1009-1012.|
|↑2||Loesche, Walter J. “Microbiology of dental decay and periodontal disease.” (1996).|
|↑3||Porter, S. R., and C. Scully. “Oral malodour (halitosis).” BMJ: British Medical Journal 333, no. 7569 (2006): 632.|
|↑4||Cortelli, José Roberto, Mônica Dourado Silva Barbosa, and Miriam Ardigó Westphal. “Halitosis: a review of associated factors and therapeutic approach.” Brazilian oral research 22 (2008): 44-54.|
|↑5||Physiology of Taste. Colorado State University.|
|↑6||Digestive System — An Overview. The Johns Hopkins University.|