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Does Tongue Scraping Need To Be A Part Of Your Oral Hygiene Routine?

Dentist Blog

Have you noticed that some toothbrushes have tongue scrapers on their heads? You may wonder if tongue scraping is a necessary part of your hygiene or if brushing and flossing is enough. Read on to learn more about the benefits of tongue scraping and how to properly add this habit to your oral hygiene routine.

Why is Tongue Scraping Important?

While your tongue does contain healthy bacteria, it can also foster unhealthy bacteria that can cause bad breath, gingivitis, and tooth decay. Bad oral bacteria can thrive on dead cells and food debris that remains on the tongue.

What are the Benefits of Tongue Scraping?

One study found that when people used a tongue scrape twice a day for a week, there was a decrease in the bacteria that contributes to tooth decay. Tongue scraping could be beneficial for people at risk for gum disease or those with recurrent cavities.

If you breathe through your mouth when you sleep, you may wake up with bad breath in the morning. Another study found that tongue scraping could significantly reduce bad breath compared to other groups who just brushed or flossed.

Lastly, one study found that cleaning tongue cleaners could reduce another type of bacteria that can be healthy in normal amounts, but abnormal amounts can lead to yeast infections, like thrush.

As you can see, tongue scraping could be a helpful addition to your oral hygiene routine.

How Can You Clean Your Tongue?

While some tongue scrapers are attached to toothbrush heads, you can also buy separate scrapers in various shapes, materials, and sizes. Your family dentist might even recommend certain brands to you if he or she wants you to improve your at-home care.

You should brush and floss first before using a tongue scraper. When you use the tongue scraper, start in the back of the mouth and pull the scraper forward. You don't have to go too far back and cause a gag reflex, just far enough that feels comfortable. You also don't need to apply an inordinate amount of pressure, as the scraper shouldn't hurt or cause any bleeding. After you scrape the tongue, you should rinse it off with each pass and repeat as necessary.

Once you are done scraping the tongue, you'll need to swish some water around your mouth and spit it out. Tongue scrapers should be rinsed thoroughly with warm water and soap so that bacteria doesn't accumulate.

Reach out to your dentist for more information about tongue scrapers and other tools that can help you improve your oral hygiene routine.


22 June 2021