Should You Start Using a Tongue Scraper?

man sticking tongue out in front of orange background

Should You Start Using a Tongue Scraper?

When it comes to keeping your mouth clean and healthy, you probably just think of brushing and flossing. However, a tongue scraper is another tool that can significantly improve your oral health. Below, we explore the benefits of using a tongue scraper and why you might want to use one. 

What Is a Tongue Scraper?

A tongue scraper is a small tool typically made from metal or plastic that is specially designed to clean your tongue. It gently scrapes bacteria, food particles, and dead cells off of your tongue to eliminate white coatings, freshen your breath, and keep your mouth clean. 

Tongue scrapers come in various shapes and sizes—choose one that’s easy to hold and that fits comfortably in your mouth. Just remember, a tongue scraper is only a supplement to your toothbrush and floss, not a replacement. You still need to brush twice a day and floss once a day to eliminate plaque and bacteria effectively. 

Four Reasons to Use a Tongue Scraper

1: Less Risk of Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

Certain bacteria cause gum disease, a chronic infection that causes bleeding gums, gum recession, and tooth loss. And tooth decay results in cavities, tooth sensitivity, and tooth infections from bacteria as well. 

Even if your teeth are squeaky clean from brushing and flossing, bacteria can still build up on your tongue and lead to serious dental issues. Daily tongue scraping gets rid of bacteria hiding on the tongue and helps reduce your risk of gum disease and tooth decay. 

2: Better Sense of Taste

The accumulation of dead cells, bacteria, and food debris creates a white coating on the surface of the tongue that can mask your taste buds. Research shows that using a tongue scraper every day can help improve your sense of taste after about two weeks. 

3: It Improves Your Tongue’s Appearance

Having a white coating on your tongue can make you feel self-conscious when talking, eating, and laughing. Using a tongue scraper removes the whitish buildup so that your tongue looks healthy and pink again. Scraping your tongue can help you feel more confident in social situations—you might even want to stick your tongue out for some silly pictures with friends and family.

4: No More Bad Breath

Tongue scraping not only makes your mouth look better, it helps it smell better, too. Bacteria buildup gives off a foul odor that contributes to bad breath. Eliminating bacteria with daily tongue scraping as well as brushing and flossing can help reduce bad breath and prevent it from returning.  

How to Use a Tongue Scraper

If you decide to use a tongue scraper, you should use it every day for best results. But being too rough or using a tongue scraper improperly can actually damage your taste buds. 

Follow these steps to scrape your tongue the right way:

  1. Stick out your tongue while facing a mirror so you can see what you’re doing.
  2. Gently place the rounded end of the scraper on the back of your tongue (or as far back as possible without gagging).
  3. Slowly pull the scraper toward the tip of your tongue—never scrape from tip to back, or you might damage your taste buds.
  4. Remove debris from the scraper after each swipe with a washcloth or tissue.
  5. Repeat until you have scraped your tongue’s entire surface once or twice.
  6. Once you’re done, clean the scraper with warm water and soap. Store it in a dry, clean place to keep it free of mold and bacteria.

Dental Cleanings in Prescott, Arizona

Tongue scraping is an excellent addition to any at-home dental care routine. However, you still need to visit the dentist at least twice a year for exams and cleanings to keep your mouth healthy. 

At Prescott Dentistry, we perform gentle teeth cleanings that keep your smile bright and shining. If you’re due for a cleaning, give our office a call at 928-445-1660 to schedule an appointment. 


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (6/5/2023). Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels