How to Use a Tongue Scraper: A Dentist Explains

To use a tongue scraper effectively, start by rinsing the scraper under running water to ensure cleanliness. Stand in front of a mirror with your mouth open, and extend your tongue as far out as comfortable.

Then, place the rounded edge of the scraper at the back of your tongue and gently glide it forward, applying light pressure. Repeat this motion several times, covering the entire surface of your tongue, including the sides. Rinse the scraper with water after each pass to remove accumulated debris.

Once you've finished scraping, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water or mouthwash to remove any remaining residue. Repeat this process at least once daily, preferably in the morning before brushing your teeth, for best results.

In this article, I'll explain everything you need to know about tongue cleaning and how to use a tongue scraper properly.

What's a tongue scraper anyway?

SWIPE Tongue Scraper

A tongue scraper is a small, handheld tool designed to remove bacteria, food debris, and dead cells from the surface of your tongue. It typically consists of a thin, curved metal or plastic head with a textured surface and a handle for easy grip.

Tongue scrapers come in various shapes and sizes, but they all serve the same purpose of improving oral hygiene by cleaning your tongue and removing tongue coating. Using a tongue scraper is a simple and effective way to reduce bad breath, reduce bacteria buildup, and promote overall oral health.

Why is tongue scraping important?

Tongue scraping is important because it helps remove bacteria, food debris, dead cells, and other buildup from the surface of the tongue. This buildup can contribute to bad breath, as well as oral health issues such as tooth decay, periodontal disease, and bacterial infections.

By regularly cleaning the tongue with a scraper, you can improve your breath, enhance taste sensation, and promote overall oral hygiene. Additionally, tongue scraping may help improve digestion by removing toxins and stimulating saliva production, which aids in the breakdown of food particles. Overall, incorporating tongue scraping into your daily oral care routine can contribute to a healthier mouth and a brighter smile.

Should I get a tongue scraper?

A man holding tongue scraper

Yes, you should get a tongue scraper. It's one of the most affordable and convenient ways to keep your breath fresh and your mouth clean.

Tongue scraping removes odor-causing bacteria, food debris, and dead cells from the surface of your tongue which can otherwise contribute to bad breath and other oral health issues. Using a tongue scraper regularly as part of your oral care routine can improve breath freshness, enhance taste sensation, and promote overall oral hygiene.

Benefits of Tongue Scraping

In this section, we'll walk through some of the key benefits of tongue scraping, a daily practice you can incorporate to fight bad breath and improve your overall dental health.

Removes Bacteria and Dead Cells

Tongue scraping before brushing teeth is one of the most effective methods for eliminating bacteria, food debris, and dead cells from the surface of our tongues. By gently scraping your tongue, you can remove these kinds of impurities that contribute to oral odor and potential oral health issues.

Fresher Breath

Fresh Breath

One of the primary benefits of tongue scraping is its ability to reduce bad breath. Studies conclude that using mechanical tongue scraping methods is effective at fighting halitosis thanks to their ability to remove odor-causing bacteria and other particles from your tongue's surface.

That said, if you consistently experience bad breath, it may be caused by tooth decay or something else entirely. Be sure to seek out professional medical advice if you're experiencing chronic bad breath.

Improves Sense of Taste

One of the most interesting benefits is that tongue scraping not only promotes better oral hygiene but also enhances taste sensation. By eliminating buildup that can dull taste buds, tongue scraping allows for a more vibrant and enjoyable eating experience so you can fully savor the flavors of all your favorite foods and beverages.

Convenient and Accessible

A woman using tongue scraper

Incorporating tongue scraping into your daily oral care routine is quick, easy, and convenient. It requires minimal time and effort but provides significant benefits, making it an excellent addition to your existing dental hygiene practices.

Improves Oral Health

Overall, tongue scraping contributes to better oral health by promoting cleaner teeth and gums, fresher breath, and enhanced taste perception. By incorporating tongue scraping into your daily routine, you can enjoy the benefits of a healthier mouth, fresher breath, and an overall more confident smile.

How to Use a Tongue Scraper

To use a tongue scraper effectively, follow these simple steps:

  1. Prepare the Tongue Scraper: Hold the tongue scraper with both hands, ensuring that the scraping edges are facing downward and away from your tongue.

  2. Position the Scraper: Extend your tongue out of your mouth as far as comfortably possible. Place the rounded edge of the scraper at the back of your tongue, near your throat, ensuring that it covers as much surface area as possible.

  3. Scrape Your Tongue: With gentle pressure, drag the scraper forward along the surface of your tongue toward the tip. Avoid pressing too hard to prevent irritation or discomfort. Repeat this scraping motion several times, covering the entire surface of the tongue.

  4. Rinse the Scraper: After each scraping pass, make sure to rinse the scraper under running water to remove any debris or residue. You can also wipe it clean with a tissue or cloth if necessary.

  5. Repeat as Needed: Continue scraping your tongue until no more residue is removed, typically around 5-10 scraping passes. Be sure to focus on the center and back areas of the tongue, where bacteria and debris tend to accumulate most.

  6. Clean the Scraper: Once you've finished scraping your tongue, thoroughly clean the scraper with soap and water or an alcohol-based solution to prevent bacterial buildup between uses.

Finally, after tongue scraping, make sure to use expanding floss, toothpaste tablets, and alkaline mouthwash to thoroughly clean your mouth and remove any other remaining bacteria.

Should I use a tongue scraper before or after brushing?

A tongue scraper and toothbrush

You should use a tongue scraper before brushing your teeth. Scraping your tongue before brushing helps remove bacteria, food particles, and debris from the surface of your tongue. This process prevents these contaminants from being redistributed around your mouth when you brush your teeth.

Additionally, clearing away this buildup allows your toothpaste to better reach and clean the surfaces of your teeth and gums, maximizing the effectiveness of your brushing routine.

What's the best tongue scraper to choose?

Metal tongue scrapers are the best type of tongue cleaner to choose from. Metal tongue scrapers are generally more effective because they provide a firmer and more thorough cleaning action compared to their plastic counterparts.

The smooth, sturdy surface of a metal scraper allows for better removal of bacteria, debris, and dead cells from the tongue's surface, which in turn promotes a cleaner mouth and fresher breath.

Additionally, metal tongue cleaners are typically more durable and longer-lasting than plastic ones, making them a more sustainable and cost-effective choice in the long run.

Furthermore, metal scrapers can be easily cleaned and sanitized, reducing the risk of bacterial growth and ensuring proper hygiene with each use.

How often should I tongue scrape?

A man using tongue scraper

For best results, we recommend tongue scraping at least once daily in the morning before brushing your teeth. This routine helps remove bacteria, food debris, and dead cells from the surface of your tongue, promoting fresher breath and a healthier mouth.

However, you can adjust the frequency based on your personal preference and oral health needs. You may find it beneficial to tongue scrape more frequently, especially if you experience persistent bad breath.

Experiment with different frequencies to find what works best for you, but aim for at least once daily to maintain good oral hygiene.

What's the best way to clean a tongue scraper?

The best way to clean your tongue scraper is to thoroughly rinse it under running water after each use to remove any residue or debris. You can also use a small amount of mild soap along with warm water to scrub the scraper gently, ensuring that you clean all surfaces.

After cleaning, rinse the tongue scraper again to remove any soap. Finally, allow the tongue scraper to air dry completely before storing it in a clean, dry place to prevent any unwanted bacteria growth.

Does brushing your tongue replace tongue scraping?

No, brushing your tongue does not replace tongue scraping. While brushing your tongue as part of your oral care routine can help remove some bacteria and debris, it does not fully replicate the benefits of using a tongue scraper.

Studies have shown that tongue scraping is more effective than brushing your tongue alone for removing bacteria, food particles, and other debris from the surface of the tongue. This is because tongue scrapers are specifically designed to gently remove buildup from your tongue's surface, including the deep crevices where bacteria often hide.

Does tongue scraping cause any side effects?

While tongue scraping is generally safe and effective, it may cause minor side effects such as gagging, tongue irritation, and temporary soreness for some people. However, these risks are avoidable if you tongue scrapes gently and with a smooth-edged scraper.

It's essential to be mindful of proper technique and to listen to your body's cues to prevent any discomfort or adverse reactions. If you experience persistent issues or discomfort, you should discontinue tongue scraping and consult with a dental professional for further guidance.

Can I use a spoon instead of a tongue scraper?

While you can use a spoon as a makeshift tongue scraper in a pinch, it's not as effective as a dedicated tongue scraper. Tongue scrapers are specifically designed with a curved edge to efficiently remove bacteria, debris, and dead cells from the surface of your tongue.

The smooth, rounded shape of a tongue scraper minimizes the risk of injuring the delicate tongue tissue compared to the sharper edges of a spoon. Additionally, tongue scrapers often have a broader surface area, allowing for more thorough cleaning with each pass.

Other Tips for Improving Your Oral Health

A BIOM Product

In addition to incorporating tongue scraping into your oral care routine, there are several other tips you can follow to improve your oral health.

Brush with Nano Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste

Brushing with nano hydroxyapatite toothpaste is beneficial for strengthening tooth enamel, remineralization, and preventing and reversing tooth decay.

Nano hydroxyapatite is a natural mineral that makes up the majority of our tooth structure and has been shown to remineralize enamel, making it more resistant to acid attacks from bacteria.

By using toothpaste with nano hydroxyapatite, you can help protect your teeth from decay and maintain a healthy smile.

Use Expanding Floss Daily

Using expanding floss daily is essential for removing plaque and food particles from between your teeth and along the gumline. Expanding floss is designed to expand when it comes into contact with saliva, allowing it to clean more effectively between tight spaces and beneath the gumline.

By flossing daily, you can reduce your risk of demineralization and tooth decay, gum issues, and bad breath.

Avoid Smoking and Consuming Tobacco Products

Avoiding smoking and consuming tobacco products is crucial for maintaining good oral health. Tobacco use can lead to a wide range of dental problems, including stained teeth, bad breath, gum disease, and oral cancer.

Quitting smoking and avoiding other tobacco products can significantly improve your oral health and reduce your risk of developing serious dental issues in the future.

Swap Out Your Toothbrush Every 3 Months

Swapping out your toothbrush every three months is important for maintaining effective oral hygiene. Over time, toothbrush bristles can become worn and frayed, making them less effective at removing plaque and debris from your teeth and gums.

By replacing your toothbrush regularly, you ensure that you're using a tool that can clean your teeth effectively and help prevent oral health problems down the line.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is using a tongue scraper good for you?
Yes, using a tongue scraper can be beneficial for your oral health, as it can effectively remove bacteria, food debris, and dead cells from the surface of your tongue, promoting better oral hygiene. This practice may help reduce bad breath and improve your overall oral health. However, it's important to use a tongue scraper gently to avoid irritation or damage to the tongue. Incorporating tongue scraping into your daily oral care routine can contribute to fresher breath and a cleaner mouth.

What is the proper way to scrape your tongue?
The proper way to scrape your tongue is to first rinse the tongue scraper under water. Then, extend your tongue in front of a mirror and gently slide the scraper from the back to the front, applying light pressure. Rinse the scraper after each use and finish by rinsing your mouth with water or mouthwash. For optimal results, incorporate this practice into your daily routine, ideally twice a day before brushing your teeth.

Do dentists recommend tongue scraper?
Yes, dentists often recommend using a tongue scraper as part of a comprehensive oral hygiene regimen. Tongue scraping helps remove bacteria, food debris, and dead cells from the surface of the tongue, which can contribute to bad breath and oral health issues if left untreated. By incorporating tongue scraping into your daily routine, you can improve breath freshness and promote better overall oral hygiene.

What is the disadvantage of using tongue scraper?
One potential disadvantage of using a tongue scraper is that it may cause irritation or discomfort if used too aggressively or if the scraper has sharp edges. Additionally, improper or excessive scraping could potentially damage the delicate surface of your tongue. However, when used correctly and gently, these risks are minimal. It's important to follow proper techniques and avoid overuse to minimize any potential drawbacks. If you experience any discomfort or irritation while using a tongue scraper, it's advisable to consult with a dentist.

How often should you scrape your tongue?
You should scrape your tongue once or twice daily, ideally as part of your morning and evening oral hygiene routine. This frequency helps maintain oral health by regularly removing bacteria and debris without causing irritation or harm to the tongue's surface. However, individual needs may vary, so it's important to listen to your body and adjust if you experience any discomfort.

SWIPE Tongue Scrapers
SWIPE Tongue Scrapers
SWIPE Tongue Scrapers
SWIPE Tongue Scrapers
SWIPE Tongue Scrapers
SWIPE Tongue Scrapers

SWIPE Tongue Scrapers

Regular price$15
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  • Rust-proof 100% stainless steel
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  • 3 unique shapes for all tongues
  • Convenient travel case
  • Plastic-free

It's time to ditch the plastic tongue scraper and say hello to freshest breath of your life.