Tongue Scraping – What is it? Why Do it? How To Do It?

by | Mar 8, 2016

We’ve all learned from a young age that regularly brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash is the best way to ensure your teeth and gums are clean and healthy. While this advice is 100% true, there’s a major part of your mouth that is being neglected: the tongue. That’s why we advise our patients to add tongue scraping to their cleaning routine. Although it may sound a bit intimidating, we promise that scraping your tongue is quick, painless, and has a ton of health benefits.

A Few Reasons Why You Should Be Scraping Your Tongue

Improved Oral Health: If not cleaned regularly, various particles and dead cells can become trapped in the tiny gaps in between your taste buds, turning you tongue into a breeding ground for bacteria, fungus, and other toxins. It’s these substances that are largely responsible for plaque, tooth decay, and gum disease so removing them is critical to protecting your pearly-whites. Fights Bad Breath: According to the American Dental Association, bad breath affects nearly 50% of the adult population. For many, the underlying cause is an abundance of bacteria on the tongue. Tongue scraping is an easy, effective way to remove much of this bacteria and it will save you money on breath mints. Improved Taste and Digestion: During each meal, tiny food and drink particles get trapped on your tongue. If not removed, those particles will build up over time, eventually coating your tongue with a bacteria-laden film. This film becomes a barrier between your taste buds and your food, meaning you are less able to fully experience the flavors of what you are eating. Plus, scraping your tongue promotes saliva production, which aids in digestion.

How Is It Done?

Scraping your tongue is extremely easy and will only take a few seconds. Simply take hold of each end of the scraper, open your mouth wide, and stick out your tongue. Next, guide the scraper to the back of your tongue, as far as you can comfortably go (while the feeling of the scraper near the back of your mouth may trigger a gag reflex, the more regularly you scrape your tongue, the less this will be an issue). Then, gently run the scraper from the back of your tongue to its tip. As you do, any buildup and debris will be removed, appearing on your scraper as a yellowish substance. For those just starting scraping, we suggest doing it every day. Once you are able to scrape your tongue with little to no debris appearing on your scraper, feel free to taper off to a few times per week. All of our patients are given a free tongue scraper after each dental appointment but, if you’re ready to get started today, both plastic and stainless steel scrapers are readily available at your local pharmacy or grocery store.