Regular brushing and flossing are essential to keeping your mouth healthy, but you can get even more oral health benefits by targeting your cleaning efforts with one of the best tongue cleaners. “Our tongue is exposed to as much, if not more, bacteria than our teeth,” cosmetic dentist Dr. Marianna M. Weiner explains to Bustle. “All that bacteria that is living there gets absorbed into our bodies and digestive systems.” Tongue scraping, which is a practice that stems from early Ayurvedic literature can remove toxins that have been brought to the surface of the tongue, and according to Martha Soffer, an Ayurvedic expert and founder of Surya Spa, will “also help to remove bad breath, and even improve digestion.”
When you start shopping for a tongue scraper, you’ll find a range of materials and shapes, and which one you go with will depend mostly on your comfort level:
- Copper: Copper scrapers have been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries with good reason: “Copper is antimicrobial, antibacterial, and helps neutralize toxins,” Soffer says. One downside to consider, however, is that they’re only typically available in a V-shape, which might be harder to manage if you have a small mouth or a strong gag reflex.
- Stainless steel: Easy to clean and durable, you can find plenty of stainless steel options in both V and loop shapes, making it simple to pinpoint the right size for you. However, Dr. Weiner points out that tongue-scraping beginners should be aware that these steels kinds “are not going to be as gentle.”
- Plastic: These are the gentlest of the bunch, making them a great starting point for tongue-cleaning newbies (or anyone with metal sensitivities), but the tradeoff is they may not be as effective. In addition to the loop styles, you can also find toothbrush-like plastic cleaners with soft bristles.
For best results, use your tongue cleaner first thing every morning, even before drinking water. Dr. Weiner suggests sticking your tongue out so that it feels loose and heavy, then, starting at the back of your tongue, gently work the scraper toward the tip and repeat the process four to five times (until you see all of the white coating come off), rinsing the scraper off after every pass.
Each brand may have its own replacement guidelines, but you can follow a similar schedule to that of a toothbrush: Replace your tongue cleaner at least every three to four months.
Step up your oral hygiene game with one of the best tongue cleaners below!
1. The Expert-Recommended Set
Both Soffer and Dr. Weiner shared their praise for Dr. Tung’s Tongue Cleaner. “While durable and easy to clean thanks to the material it is made of, it is also gentle enough to do the job carefully and effectively,” Dr. Weiner says. With your purchase, you’ll get two of these stainless steel scrapers, which have soft, plastic grip handles that make it easy (and comfortable) to control them as you move them around. The experts aren’t the…