When it comes to oral hygiene, there’s a real sliding scale of enthusiasm. Some people give their teeth a quick once-over twice a day, while others dedicate a solid block of time to give their mouth the royal treatment. Your bathroom cupboard might be fully stocked with products like floss and mouthwash, but there’s one thing you might not have considered adding to your routine — a tongue scraper.
This nifty device is having a real moment in the sun right now, with people raving about its many benefits, including a bunch of qualified dentists. So, if you’re interested in trying one out but are looking for some further convincing, you’ve come to the right place.
Here, we’ve done a deep-dive into tongue scraping, including its myriad of health benefits and where to buy the best tongue scrapers in Australia.
What is a tongue scraper?
A tongue scraper is a nifty little tool designed to remove excess particles from the surface of your tongue (including the ones that cause bad breath). It’s a small, slightly rounded tool with two handgrips on either side and is usually made from plastic, metal or copper.
They’re not very large in size, so it’s incredibly easy to pop in your bathroom cupboard or even keep in your handbag if you’re keen to scrape multiple times a day.
How do I use it?
To use it, hold onto the handles and place the rounded edge towards the back of the tongue. Then you gently pull the device forwards toward the tip of your tongue. If you’re worried about gagging the first few times, just start at the middle of your tongue (you can work your way back once you get more comfortable with the feeling).
After each scrape, use a tissue or warm water to remove debris from the scraper otherwise, you’re putting the same gunk back on your tongue and defeating the whole purpose. Once you’ve done a few scrapes at the tip, middle and back of the tongue, give it a wash with warm water, dry it off and store it in a clean, dry space.
Before using your scraper, you should give it a check to make sure there are no rough edges — nobody wants to deal with a bleeding tongue on their first go. It’s also important to be gentle and never apply too much pressure (this can damage your tastebuds if you go too hard over a long period of time). It’s also important to remember that scraping in the morning doesn’t guarantee fresh breath all day. Bacteria builds up as soon as you eat or drink, but scraping twice a day is usually enough to feel the benefits.
What are the health benefits?
Over time, our tongues experience a build-up of debris and bacteria which can lead to things like bad breath and poor oral health. If you stick out your tongue and look in the mirror, you’ll probably see a white film over the top of your tongue — this is the debris we’re talking about.
Using a tongue scraper daily can help remove this build-up and even prevent it from returning. Studies have also found that daily tongue scraping can reduce the presence of bacteria in the mouth, particularly the types that are known to cause bad breath and dental decay. Removing bacteria is also the key to preventing things like gum disease and cavities, so scraping this off is improving the overall health of your entire mouth. Some research has even found that using a tongue scraper twice a day could improve your sense of taste. After all, it makes sense that once the gunk is gone, it’s easier for your tongue to do its job — helping you enjoy delicious food.