Tongue Scraping: Are There Any Benefits?

May 24, 2017 @ 03:45 PM — by Sharon B. Mateja, D.D.S.

Using a tongue scraperWhen patients visit our Rancho Cucamonga dental practice, they know that they are in great hands. We offer advanced restorative dentistry treatments as well as expert insight into oral hygiene and preventative care. Both are important for keeping smiles healthy.

We've heard a lot of discussion about tongue scrapers lately, and we think we should take a moment to discuss them. Specifically, we want to consider the potential benefits of tongue scraping.

What Is a Tongue Scraper?

A tongue scraper is just what it sounds like. The scraper is an oral hygiene instrument similar to a toothbrush but designed to clean off the surface of the tongue. The size and shape of the scraper can vary, but the principle is rather straightforward regardless of the design.

The Origins of Tongue Scrapers

While some assume that tongue scrapers are a new dental care fad, the act of tongue scraping actually dates back hundreds and hundreds of years. Tongue scrapers were a part of oral hygiene practices in Arab, Asian, Africa, Indian, and South American cultures. People in Europe began scraping their tongues around the 15th century, but this practice was typically associated with the elite and the affluent.

How Do I Use a Tongue Scraper?

Using a tongue scraper is as simple as it sounds. The scraper is placed at the back of the tongue and is then pulled forward. Repeat this until the entire surface of the tongue has been scraped clean of debris.

Tongue Scrapers Freshen Your Breath

Tongue scrapers help remove lots of unwanted matter from the tongue, such as food particles, oral bacteria, and dead cells. These are all common causes of bad breath. By cleaning these off the tongue and regularly brushing and flossing, you can potentially have a much cleaner and fresher breath than usual.

Scrapers Are More Comfortable Than Brushing

If you've ever tried using a toothbrush to clean your tongue, you know that this can be uncomfortable. Gagging and excessive salivation are not uncommon when brushing the tongue clean. These are not issues when using a tongue scraper, however. The scraper can clean the tongue thoroughly without discomfort.

Tongue Scrapers Get Your Mouth Extra-Clean

As we noted above, tongue scrapers help get rid of unwanted stuff in your mouth. When you brush, floss, scrape your tongue, and use mouthwash, you can greatly reduce your risk of experiencing tooth decay, gum disease, acidic erosion, and bad breath. That's a very clean smile.

Tongue Scrapers Can Improve Your Ability to Taste

There's some anecdotal evidence that suggests that tongue scraping can improve your sense of taste. With less matter on the tongue, you can potentially pick up subtle flavors and hidden notes in your favorite foods and beverages. Foodies, wine drinkers, and craft beer enthusiasts take note.

How Often Should I Scrape My Tongue?

Ideally you'll want to scrape your tongue as much as you brush your teeth. That means scraping twice a day, or after every meal for the best results.

Learn More About Proper Oral Hygiene

If you would like more information about improving your oral hygiene and enhancing your overall dental health, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. We will work with you to ensure your teeth and gums are as healthy as possible.

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