Practicing good dental hygiene is the most important thing you can do to keep your mouth healthy. Start with the basics: brush twice a day for at least two minutes, and floss once a day. Add in seeing your dentist twice a year for check-ups and you’re doing all you can. Right? You can actually do more.
At Healthy Smile Dental, Dr. Hannah Baek may recommend additional dental hygiene activities. She may suggest using mouthwash or investing in a water pick. Often, she suggests tongue scraping. In this article, we explain why.
Bacteria, mostly the good type, live on your tongue. But, bad bacteria can also thrive, leading to bad breath, tooth decay, or gum disease. The goal of tongue scraping is to remove debris and bacteria from the surface of your tongue. Dead cells, bacteria, and bits of food can build up and cause issues.
Tongue scraping uses a special tool to remove buildup from your tongue. The scraper may be plastic or metal and is rounded. When you scrape, begin at the back of your tongue and move it forward.
With each pass over your tongue, you should clean the scraper. One or two passes are usually sufficient to remove any buildup.
Tongue scraping should become part of your dental hygiene routine and be done at the same time you brush your teeth. Doing it in the morning or the evening generally offers the most oral health benefits.
We’ve already noted that tongue scraping can prevent bad breath, and that’s certainly a positive! Here are some other benefits:
Eliminating bacteria on your tongue can lower your risk of tooth decay. Several types of bacteria that thrive on your tongue can also break down the enamel of your teeth and lead to cavities or tooth loss.
Does your tongue look like it’s coated in white? Scraping can remove the bacteria that cause that white coating.
Scraping your tongue each day might improve your sense of taste. Removing the debris and bacteria can allow your taste buds to better differentiate between sweet, salty, sour, and bitter flavors.
One common negative comment from people who try tongue scraping is that it triggers their gag reflex. You can avoid that by paying close attention to how far back you place the scraper.
A high-quality scraper can limit the risks of cuts or tissue damage. Dr. Baek is happy to recommend a scraper that is affordable and also safe.
If you have a sensitive gag reflex or forget to take your scraper on a trip, you can always use your toothbrush to clean your tongue.
If you have questions about tongue scraping, we encourage you to schedule an appointment so we can answer them!