The Benefits of Tongue Scraping

Woman in bathroom mirror with a towel on her head using a tongue scraper

A recent studyThis link opens a new tab to the NCBI website showed less than 10 percent of participants were using a tongue scraper—the most thorough way to clean the tongue.

This statistic is a bit shocking because oral hygiene plays a significant role in overall health, and the tongue may harbor 20 billion bacteria.

Fortunately, you can keep those bacteria at bay as much as possible with a good tongue scraping twice daily whenever you brush your teeth.

While brushing your tongue helps, it doesn’t work as well as a tongue scraper.

So, what are the benefits of a tongue scraper and keeping your tongue clean anyway? While not promoted prominently as brushing and flossing, tongue scraping has many benefits.

We want to take a moment to enlighten you.

What is a tongue scraper?

First and foremost, let’s talk about what a tongue scraper is.

It’s either an extended device with a loop at the end of it or one that looks similar to a pair of tongs.

With the ones that look like tongs, you use the closed part on your tongue.

You place the tongue scraper at the top of your tongue and pull downward.

This “scrapes,” as the name implies, any film on your tongue.

What does a tongue scraper do?

Using a tongue scraper, you can remove any coating and keep your tongue clean.

That white or yellow coating on your tongue could be from an overgrowth of candida—a yeast that can grow inside your mouth.

This coating could also be from poor oral hygiene that leads to the build-up of bacteria and dead skin cells, among other particulate matter.

Brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist at All Smiles DentistryThis link leads to Home page every six months for a routine cleaning and dental examThis link leads to Dental Exams page can do wonders for your oral health, but tongue scraping could take that one step further to remove any coating.

We’d like to note that the American Dental Association (ADA) doesn’t necessarily recommend that everyone clean their tongue for a healthy mouth, but they state that your mouth could feel fresher.

Do tongue scrapers work?

Yes, tongue scrapers work.

As you use one on your tongue, you may notice a color change. A healthy tongue is pink, either a light or dark shade.

Besides that, you can also improve your sense of taste.

In fact, you may notice an improved sense of taste in as little as two weeks.

How to clean your tongue

You can use your toothbrush, either the brush or the back of it, though it doesn’t have all the benefits of a tongue scraper because it doesn’t work either.

You run either side up and down your tongue.

Once you complete the process, ensure you rinse the brush after each scrape and your mouth.

A tongue scraper can make this process a bit easier.

You start from the back of your tongue and pull the scraper toward the front. You repeat for all parts of the top of your tongue.

How to clean the back of the tongue?

For some people, the instant something touches too far back on their tongue, they gag, making it quite difficult to brush the back of the tongue.

You, however, can take steps to overcome this dilemma.

Take a few deep breaths to calm yourself before you try.

Then, stick out your tongue as far as possible.

Instead of shoving the scraper toward the back of your tongue and going to town, go back a little at first.

Once you scrape from that far back a few times, increase more.

As you clean the back of your tongue, try to think of something else.

How to use a tongue scraper

Make sure you go from back to front.

You don’t necessarily have to go in straight lines from back to front, though; you can scrape at different angles.

Be sure to clean the scraper with warm water and soap after every use, rinsing it thoroughly.

Completely dry your scraper and store it in a dry area so you don’t promote mold growth.

When to use a tongue scraper

Bacteria are forever regrowing, making scraping your tongue regularly to keep that at bay beneficial.

If you choose to scrape your tongue, twice daily after you brush is sufficient.

Benefits of using a tongue scraper

Woman scraping her tongue with white and green scraper and removing the white film

The benefits of a tongue scraper include the following:

  • Fresher breath (removal of sulfur compounds, which are waste products from the bacteria)
  • Possible reduction of certain kinds of bacteria on your tongue
  • Improved sense of taste
  • Change of color and appearance of the tongue

How to clean a tongue scraper?

Washing your scraper with soap and warm water is adequate.

Then, every three to four months, purchase a new one.

Last glance

Though cleaning your tongue isn’t a recommendation, you could enjoy the benefits of a tongue scraper, such as improved breath.

The process is relatively simple and doesn’t take long to add to your daily routine.

And as always, don’t forget to book your bi-annual visit with All Smiles DentistryThis link leads to Home page!


All Smiles Dentistry welcomes people in the nearby cities of Machias, Lochsloy, Fobes Hills, Three Lakes, Marysville, Granite Falls, Everett, and Sisco Heights.

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