When it comes to oral hygiene there’s a real sliding scale of enthusiasm. Some people give their teeth a quick once-over morning and night, while others dedicate twenty minutes a day to give their mouth the royal treatment. Your bathroom cupboard might be fully stocked with products like floss and mouthwash but there’s one thing you might not have considered – a tongue scraper.
This nifty device is having a real moment in the sun right now, with people raving about its many benefits. If you’re interested in trying one out but are looking for some further convincing, you’ve come to the right place.
Here, we’ve done a deep-dive into tongue scraping including its health benefits and where to buy one.
What is a tongue scraper?
A tongue scraper is a tool designed to remove excess particles from the surface of your tongue (including the ones that cause bad breath). It’s a small, slightly rounded tool with two hand grips on either side and is usually made from plastic, metal or copper.
They’re not very large in size, so it’s incredibly easy to pop it in your bathroom cupboard or even keep in your handbag if you’re keen to scrape multiple times a day.
How do I use it?
To use it, hold onto the handles and place the rounded edge towards the back of the tongue. Then you gently pull the device forwards toward the tip of your tongue. If you’re worried about gagging the first few times just start at the middle of your tongue (you can work your way backwards once you get more comfortable with the feeling). After each scrape, use a tissue or warm water to remove debris from the scraper, otherwise you’re putting the same gunk back on your tongue and defeating the whole purpose. Once you’ve done a few scrapes at the tip, middle and back of the tongue, give it a wash with warm water, dry it off and store in a clean, dry space.
Before using your scraper, you should give it a check to make sure there’s no rough edges – nobody wants a bleeding tongue on their first go. It’s also important to be gentle and never apply too much pressure (this can damage your tastebuds if you go too hard over a long period of time). It’s also important to remember that scraping in the morning doesn’t guarantee fresh breath all day. Bacteria builds up as soon as you eat or drink, but scraping twice a day is usually enough to feel the benefits.
What are the health benefits?
Over time, our tongues experience a build-up of debris and bacteria which can lead to things like bad breath and poor oral health. If you stick out your tongue and look in the mirror, you’ll probably see a white film over the top of your tongue – this is the debris we’re talking about.
Using a tongue scraper daily can help remove this build-up and prevent it from returning. Studies have also found that daily tongue scraping can reduce the presence of bacteria in the mouth, particularly the types that are known to cause bad breath and dental decay. Removing bacteria is also the key to preventing things like gum disease and cavities, so scraping this off is improving the overall health of your entire mouth. Some research even found that using a tongue scraper twice a day could improve your sense of taste. Once the gunk is gone it’s easier for your tongue to do its job – helping you enjoy delicious food.