Updated 25 October 2017
Brushing and flossing keeps your teeth and gums clean and healthy. But what about your tongue? Are you keeping that clean and healthy?
Your tongue, like your teeth and gums, collects debris. The surface of your tongue isn’t smooth, it’s got lots of crevices and bumps. And these hold all sorts of organisms – bits of leftover food, plaque, bacteria and other microorganisms. You might be cleaning your teeth thoroughly, and flossing perfectly. But if you’re not cleaning your tongue, all these leftovers start circulating around your mouth again the second you’ve walked out of the bathroom. The result? Poor dental hygiene, and bad breath.
Studies estimate that 85% of halitosis (bad breath) starts in your mouth and 50% of these are caused by tongue residues. So it’s important to clean your tongue if you want to reduce bad breath. But how do you do it?
You may have heard that you can brush your tongue with your toothbrush. You can, but the problem with this is that toothbrushes are designed for the smooth surface of your teeth, not the rough surface of your tongue.
One study got people to clean their tongue with a soft bristled toothbrush, and others to use a tongue scraper. The results were interesting.
Using a soft bristle toothbrush only removed 45% of the sulfides (the bacteria that cause bad breath) on the tongue, but using a tongue scraper removed 75%.
As a bonus, using a tongue scraper will improve your sense of taste!
A tongue cleaner is in addition to your normal dental routine
Cleaning your tongue should be an add on to your normal routine of brushing and flossing. Although tongue scraping reduces the amount of bacteria in your mouth, it doesn’t reduce plaque.
So stick to brushing your teeth twice a day, and flossing at least once a day, and just add your tongue scraping in once a day, too. It will help with your general dental health.
Kids can use tongue scrapers, too, but you’re best to wait until they can clean their own teeth.
How do you use a tongue cleaner?
Although it might seem strange at first, using a tongue cleaner isn’t difficult.
- Open your mouth wide, and stick your tongue out.
- Put the scraper at the back of your tongue, near the throat. Don’t put it so far back that you gag.
- Press down firmly, but not so that it’s uncomfortable. Scrape from the back towards the front.
- Scrape the top and sides of your tongue, not just down the centre.
- Rinse the tongue scraper thoroughly after you use it.
- Rinse your mouth out with fresh water and spit it out.
Once you’ve got the routine down pat, it should only take a few seconds each day to do your tongue scraping.
Choosing a tongue cleaner
You can buy plastic or stainless steel tongue scrapers, but I have to admit that I prefer the stainless steel one. It’s like the difference between using a plastic fork or proper cutlery! The Dr Tung’s tongue cleaner is gentle on your tongue, hygenic, lasts for ages and it’s easy to use.
At $9.95 it’s a cheap investment in your dental health, too!
You can grab a Dr Tung’s Tongue Cleaner right here at Hello Charlie.
Copper is a traditional Ayurvedic remedy and that’s exactly what Keeko’s Tongue Scraper is made of. Like the Dr Tung’s one, it’s just $9.95.
I’ve been using a tongue cleaner for a couple of years now, and I absolutely love it. My mouth doesn’t feel clean until I’ve used it, and I’ve definitely noticed an improvement in my breath!
Do you use a tongue cleaner? Love it or hate it? Share your thoughts below!