Benefits of tongue scraping
Our oral microbiome is a carefully balanced system containing a variety of different bacteria. While some of these bacteria are harmless, others may lead to unpleasant conditions such as bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. Daily removal of harmful bacteria from the tongue can help to maintain oral hygiene and promote dental health.
Daily brushing and flossing are essential in order to combat bacteria and prevent potential damage. However, brushing and flossing may not be enough to address bacteria that accumulate at the back of the tongue, an area which can be difficult to clean without a specialized tool.
Incorporating tongue scraping into your morning routine can provide several benefits. Four of the most beneficial are:
- Preventing Bad Breath
Bad breath (halitosis) is caused by the presence of certain bacteria in the mouth. Removing these bad bacteria can therefore be beneficial in eliminating bad breath.
According to research published in 2019 in the Journal of Breath Research, the use of tongue scraping proved to be an effective way to combat halitosis when done on a regular basis. In comparison, using a mouthwash showed no measurable difference in this regard.
- Reducing Gum Disease
Proper dental hygiene is essential to prevent gum disease, and brushing our teeth daily is an important factor in helping to remove bacteria. However, research has demonstrated that using a tongue scraper daily might be even more beneficial in reducing the risk of gum disease than brushing alone.
In a 2018 study, researchers compared two groups with gum disease and evaluated the effects of proper oral hygiene on the symptoms of gum disease. One group was instructed to brush their teeth and scrape their tongue while the other group only received instructions to brush their teeth. After one week, both groups reported a decrease in the symptoms associated with gum disease. The group using the tongue scraper experienced more significant improvement compared to the group that relied solely on brushing.
- Removing Tongue Coating
Bad breath can result from a filmy coating to form on our tongues, leaving an unpleasant taste and even a white covering.
Daily utilization of a tongue scraper can remove the uncomfortable coating on the tongue, making our entire mouth feel much more refreshed. It also eliminates the odd white coloration, resulting in a healthier appearance and sensation for the tongue.
- Improving the Taste of Food
When bacteria and debris accumulate on our tongues, it can impede our sense of taste by hindering the ability of our tastebuds to detect flavors in food.
A previous study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology revealed that using a tongue scraper for a period of two weeks significantly improved participants’ ability to taste food, particularly salt and quinine (with its bitter flavor).
Having a well-developed sense of taste can both increase our pleasure in meals and promote healthier dietary choices. If we can appreciate the delicate flavors of food, we are more likely to opt for nutritious options.
The coating on our tongues can inhibit our ability to taste salt, leading us to consume more processed foods with added flavoring than necessary. However, when we remove this coating, our palate is able to more fully appreciate the natural flavors present in home-cooked, healthy meals.
In Ayurveda, tongue scraping is said to help promote the agni – the digestive fire – which is essential for maintaining balance in the body. Much of the practice of Ayurveda is devoted to achieving and sustaining a healthy digestive fire. It is widely acknowledged that maintaining a healthy gut can have a positive effect on one’s overall well-being. Therefore, it is beneficial to incorporate behaviors into our lifestyles that support good digestive health.
What Is Tongue Scraping?
Using an appropriate tongue scraper is essential for proper tongue cleaning. Toothbrushes or electric brushes should not be used as a tongue scraper since they are not as effective. Tongue scrapers typically appear long and slender, allowing them to be curved in a “U” shape or with a hoop-shaped extension that resembles the handle of a toothbrush. Some tongue scrapers feature flat, smooth surfaces for a smooth scraping sensation, while others have slightly ribbed edges or tiny teeth which provide a gentle massage as they scrape the tongue.
Using a tongue scraper can provide far more effective results when it comes to cleaning your tongue than a toothbrush. You may be surprised or even disgusted by seeing the results the first time after use; it is truly an effective way to cleanse. Once completed, simply rinse off the cleaner and let it air dry. If disinfection is required, the best options are to either place the item in a dishwasher or to clean it with antimicrobial soap.
How to Use a Tongue Scraper
Tongue scrapers are an easy and ideal way to enhance any oral hygiene routine. Incorporating tongue scraping into your nightly or morning brushing and flossing regimen ensures that you’ll receive all the benefits of this practice. To properly use a tongue scraper, start by placing the scraper at the back of the tongue and gently move it forward over the entire length of the tongue. Repeat this process until no more debris is visible on the scraper. After each scrape, make sure to rinse the tongue scraper in order to ensure proper hygiene.
Why You Should Clean Your Tongue
Maintaining the oral health of your tongue, in addition to your teeth and gums, is essential. This includes cleaning daily routines for various reasons. Contrary to common belief, the tongue is much more than a flat surface; its anatomy is comparable to that of a carpet, as it contains many small pebble-like projections called taste buds. Many people enjoy the taste of their favorite foods, however these can also be a home for the type of bacteria that causes bad breath. Additionally, smoking, consuming alcohol or coffee, and frequent cases of dry mouth can have a negative impact on saliva production which is needed to effectively fight off bacteria.
Brushing or scraping the tongue is an important part of oral hygiene as it can remove substances that can cause bacterial growth, such as acidic foods and food particles. If left on the tongue’s surface, these substances can lead to bad breath. It is not a requirement for proper oral hygiene, but cleaning one’s tongue can be an additional measure to care for the mouth and may be recommended depending on personal preference. Brushing and flossing are fundamental steps to maintain good oral health. It is essential to exercise caution when utilizing a tongue scraper to clean one’s tongue, as doing so aggressively can lead to irritation or injury.