Let’s face it, your tongue can get pretty gross. As we go about our day consuming food and beverages, it easily gets coated with debris and bacteria. According to the ADA, there is no real evidence that cleaning your tongue will prevent bad breath, but it can help temporarily.
Cleaning your tongue is a simple task, which can be done with a tongue scraper or by using your toothbrush. And although there isn’t much research on the effectiveness of tongue scraping beyond temporary improvements for bad breath, there isn’t much harm in adding an additional, short step to keep your mouth clean. So, ready for our 10 favorite tongue cleaning tips? Read on.
- Choose the right size of scraper. Adults should use appropriately sized scrapers (wider) and children should use smaller sized scrapers to fit their mouth properly.
- Picking the right material. Scrapers can be made from plastic or stainless steel. Both will clean well, but plastic tongue scrapers don’t last as long as they are known to retain bacteria. With proper sterilization, stainless steel scrapers can be reused but they are usually more expensive.
- Rinse your brush or scraper first. Before you clean your tongue with your toothbrush or scraper, be sure to rinse it well with clean water as lack of moisture can cause irritation.
- Stick out your tongue. As comfortably as you can, open wide and stick out your tongue to help cover more surface area.
- Scrape from back to front. And never scrape your tongue from front to back.
- Give a good rinse when you are done. As you finish, rinse thoroughly to remove any remaining debris.
- Don’t forget the sides. Scrape the sides of your tongue, an easily neglected part of your mouth.
- Use a semi firm pressure. Not too soft, not too hard. If it causes pain or bleeding, you are using too much pressure.
- Do not scrape your tongue more than twice a day. Although once a day is usually fine too.
- Stop if your tongue is irritated. Don’t scrape your tongue if it causes pain or irritation.
And of course, before adding or changing your oral health care routine, we always recommend talking to your dentist first. Find a dentist here.