Everything You Need to Know About the Tongue Scraper to Eliminate Bad Breath
I can honestly tell you that discovering the tongue scraper was a mouth changing experience for me. It wasn’t a subtle thing -it really made a huge difference in my oral health and how I feel about myself. It had such a positive impact that I feel the need to share this with you. So here is everything you need to know about the tongue scraper to eliminate bad breath and improve your overall health!
The tongue scraper became as important as flossing my teeth (if not more). For a change I felt confident about my breath, I was able to taste my food better, and it was nice kissing my husband again. Now my entire family uses a tongue scraper even though at first they were skeptical, they all agree that it has made a significant difference on their oral hygiene.
What is Tongue Scraping?
Tongue scraping dates back to ancient times in India, it is a Ayurvedic self-care ritual that has started gaining attention in the west only in the last decade. It is an oral hygiene practice that removes bacteria, toxins, fungi, and food debris from the surface of the tongue to improve health and eliminate bad breath.
Our Tongues Are full of Bacteria and Toxins
Our tongues are like petri dishes waiting to happen -breeding grounds for bacteria to grow. Tiny food particles attach themselves to the surface and stay embedded there. The temperature in our mouth is a perfect environment to successfully grow all kinds of bad strains of bacteria and fungi. What you’ll end up with is layers and layers of bacteria and toxins that are destined to be swallowed.
What Actually Causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath also called halitosis is caused by volatile sulfur compounds, dentists refer to these sulfur byproducts as the waste excreted by oral bacteria. It’s their presence in our breath that we detect as “bad” breath, and it’s these compounds that are usually at the root of a person’s breath problems.
Benefits of Reducing Toxins and Bacteria
• Boosts your immune system
• Improves your concentration
• Gives you more energy
• Helps give you radiant skin
• Improves memory
• Reduces depression
Benefits of Using a Tongue Scraper
1. Will Reduce Your Bad Breath
Bad breath can have a negative impact on your life as it can affect your relationships and your self-esteem.
One of the biggest differences is that my morning bad breath is significantly reduced – I have a real problem with this because I’m a mouth breather. I would always be so worried that during the night I may be blowing my bad breath on my husband, Now I wake up and my tongue has way less guck on it and my mouth feels fresher. I also feel better talking to others at work, I don’t feel like I need to camouflage my breath with mints of gum anymore.
2. Clears toxins & bacteria from the tongue
One study found that tongue scraping was helpful in reducing the level of mutans streptococci bacteria in the mouths of participants. Further the tongue scraper performed better in reducing the production of volatile sulfur compounds as compared to brushing the tongue with a toothbrush.
3. Your Tongue Will Look Clean
Have you ever seen pictures of yourself laughing with your mouth open just to notice the white buildup on it? I’ve had those photos! Well if you use the tongue scraper you won’t have to worry about this. You will feel more confident to talk and laugh with others because your tongue looks clean.
4. You Will Be Able to Taste Your Food Better
When you first clean your tongue you will notice the food is more flavorful. Even to drink a glass of water you will notice there are more characteristics to savor. It might even feel strange at first to notice all these extra tones in your food.
What does the Science Say about Tongue Scraping?
Scientific evidence has confirmed the need to practice tongue scraping as part of a daily home oral hygiene practice. Studies have found that tongue cleaning reduced the amount of bacteria on the tongue coating.
A 2018 study measuring morning bad breath, plaque and gingival status in 32 healthy subject found that those that used a combination tooth brushing, tongue scraping and mouthwash had the lowest bad breath scores in the morning. The study confirms that all three should be incorporated in daily oral hygiene practices for better breath and prevention of plaque and gingivitis.
How To Use a Tongue Scraper
I use a tongue scraper twice daily. Once when I get out of bed (before I eat and drink something) and once before going to bed.
1. Hold the two ends of the tongue scraper in both hands.
2. Extend the tongue and place the scraper on the surface of the tongue, as far back as is comfortable.
3. Gently pull the tongue scraper away from you in a forward direction.
4. You will notice as you pull forward a whitish coating will appear.
5. Rinse both your tongue and the tongue scraper.
6. Repeat 5-10 times.
Side Effects of Using A Tongue Scraper
The tongue scraper sometimes makes me gag as I try to push the scraper further down my tongue. Be gentle and do what is comfortable for you. You don’t want to make yourself vomit and some people are more sensitive than others.
Never be overly aggressive with the tongue scraper as it can temporarily damage your tongue and cause open areas for bacteria to enter. Gentle strokes will remove the coating on the tongue without harming the underlying tissue.
What Type of Tongue Scraper to Use
I highly recommend that you purchase a solid metal tongue scraper and avoid plastic as some scrapers have plastic parts. Plastic is porous and can absorb bacteria and you won’t be able to properly disinfect plastic. Stainless steel or copper tongue scrapers are the best and will last you the longest. You can purchase a plastic tongue scraper as well but you will eventually need to dispose of it to prevent bacterial growth. You can find a great selection on Amazon with good reviews.
How to Clean a Tongue Scraper
You can rinse with soap and water after each use. You can use wipe down with alcohol to disinfect it weekly.I also recommend that once a month you place your tongue scraper in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes to completely disinfect it.
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 Gondhalekar, Rajashree & Jose Richard, Km & Jayachandra, Mg & Aslam, Sachin & Nilay Reddy, Vamsi & S Barabde, Aparna. (2013). Effect of tongue cleaning methods and oral mutans streptococci level. The journal of contemporary dental practice. 14. 119-22.
 Pedrazzi V, Sato S, de Mattos Mda G, Lara EH, Panzeri H. Tongue-cleaning methods: a comparative clinical trial employing a toothbrush and a tongue scraper. Journal of Periodontology 2004;75(7):1009–12.
 Matsui M, Chosa N, Shimoyama Y, Minami K, Kimura S, Kishi M. Effects of tongue cleaning on bacterial flora in tongue coating and dental plaque: a crossover study. BMC Oral Health. 2014;14:4. doi:10.1186/1472-6831-14-4.
 GODHA S, DASAR PL, SANDESH N, et al. Impact of different oral hygiene aids for the reduction of morning bad breath among dental students: a crossover clinical trial. Clujul Medical. 2016;89(4):525-533. doi:10.15386/cjmed-627