Even if you are brushing and flossing like you are supposed to, you may still be leaving bacteria in your mouth. The bumpy and uneven surface of the tongue creates the ideal place for bacteria to collect and multiply. These bacteria then get transferred onto our teeth and gums.
You may have heard of brushing your tongue with your toothbrush. Many modern toothbrushes even have ridges on the backside specifically to clean the tongue. However, a toothbrush cannot eliminate all the bacteria from the tongue. An effective alternative is a tongue scraper.
Dr. Thomas G. Zarger, Jr. can explain the benefits of tongue scrapers and how to use one at our Knoxville, TN general dentistry practice.
What Is a Tongue Scraper?
Tongue scrapers are typically u-shaped objects. They are gently dragged across the entire surface of the tongue. This dental tool can eliminate bacteria, toxins, particles of food, and deadened cells that collect on the tongue. Your toothbrush alone is not enough to remove all this bacteria.
Types of Tongue Scrapers
Tongue scrapers are available in a variety of different materials, sizes, and shapes. You may wish to speak with Dr. Zarger to determine which type of tongue scraper is right for you. Stainless steel options are usually shaped like a “u”. Plastic scrapers may look more like a triangle with a handle attached. There are pros and cons to each, which Dr. Zarger can explain when you meet with him.
Where to Buy
Tongue scrapers are less popular than toothbrushes and floss, so they are more difficult to find. You can check a local health food store, otherwise, you can find them online.
How to Use
You want to start with a clean scraper. Then, place the scraper at the back of the tongue. Drag it across the tongue’s surface with gentle, yet firm pressure. You may need to rinse your scraper and repeat multiple times until you feel like your tongue is clean.
Understand the Benefits of Tongue Scrapers
Tongue scrapers offer numerous benefits. Patients who use their tongue scrapers daily may enjoy the following benefits.
- Better-smelling Breath: When bacteria collect on the tongue and are not effectively removed, they can cause halitosis, or bad breath. Eliminating these bacteria can give you fresh breath.
- Better Oral Health: The bacteria on the tongue can transfer to the teeth and gums, causing decay and gum disease. Removing bacteria reduces your risk for these complications.
- Enhanced Taste: Over time, the bacteria and toxins on the tongue begin to clog our taste buds. This can lead to unwanted cravings. Scraping away bacteria and toxins can revitalize your taste buds so you can enjoy more complex flavor profiles.
- Improved Digestion: If the tongue and taste buds are clogged, we may notice a decline in saliva, which can create digestive problems. You can improve digestion and salivation simply by scraping your tongue.
Learn More about Tongue Scraping
If you want to significantly improve your oral health, contact our office to learn more about adding tongue scraping to your oral care routine.