You might have heard your dentist mention that you should brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once. In fact, you probably remember your dentist saying this for as long as you’ve been seeing the dentist! A lesser-known hygienic habit that helps keep your mouth clean and healthy is tongue scraping.

Although lesser known, tongue scraping is in fact beneficial. Your tongue is covered in bumps called papillae. The texture of your tongue allows for food particles to gather between these bumps, which can attract bacteria. Tongue scraping is effective in helping to remove bacteria, which can be damaging to your teeth and mouth.

What is tongue scraping?

The tongue can hold a lot of bacteria, plaque, dead skin, and food particles, which can be harmful to overall oral health. When brushing your teeth, it can be helpful to brush your tongue to help combat this. However, brushing isn’t the most effective tactic in keeping your tongue clean. For a better clean, you should consider using a tongue scraping tool. A tongue scraping tool is generally inexpensive and is very effective. The tool works to remove built up food particles and bacteria to keep your mouth healthy and clean.

You should scrape your tongue after you brush your teeth, but before you rinse your mouth. Doing so means there will still be some toothpaste in your mouth, extending the quality of the cleaning your tongue receives. Always start at the back of your tongue and clean forward. This method applies to both brushing and scraping your tongue. After each pass with your scraper or brush, be sure to rinse so you’re not re-applying the buildup you’ve removed.

How is tongue scraping beneficial?   

Keeping your tongue clean and healthy is important for your oral health. Your tongue is the muscle responsible for tasting, talking, and swallowing. It needs regular care and hygiene, just like your teeth.

Tongue scraping can be beneficial to you in the following ways:

  • It fights against bad breath. Bacteria and other buildup are the source of the sour smell, so removing it can help this issue. The tongue is often the source of bad breath; it acts a bit like a sponge in the fact that it holds so much buildup between the papillae.
  • It decreases your risk of tooth decay. By removing the bacteria from the tongue, you lower the risk of bacteria damaging your teeth.
  • Tongue scraping fights against the development of gum disease. Gum disease also develops because of harmful bacteria. The more bacteria that is removed from the mouth, the less likely you are to develop gum disease.
  • You may notice improvements to your ability to taste. Removing buildup allows your tastebuds to experience flavor more clearly.

At your next appointment, ask your dentist about the health of your tongue and how best to keep it clean. If you see any discoloration or persistent pain or sores, make sure to discuss this with your dentist.

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Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.