What is Tongue Scraping?

Tongue scraping is a fast way to remove extra particles — including the ones that cause bad breath — from the surface of your tongue. It’s done with a small, slightly rounded tool made from plastic or metal.

Although no amount of scraping can replace a good toothbrushing, its purported benefits have enticed quite a few to add this extra step to their morning and evening routines.

Think of your tongue like a shag rug. The tongue is comprised of thousands of tiny, finger-like projections called papillae, which form the strands of that rug. Deep in the crevices of the papillae, bacteria congregate and remain relatively untouched until a tongue scraper removes them from their incubating haven.

What are the Benefits of Tongue Scraping?

Debris, bacteria, and dead cells can build up on your tongue over time. This can lead to bad breath and have a negative impact on your overall oral health. Using a tongue scraper can help remove this buildup, as well as:

  • Improve the appearance of your tongue. The buildup of excess debris can cause your tongue to take on a white, coated appearance. Daily scraping can help remove this coating and prevent it from returning.
  • Remove bacteria. Researchers in one 2005 study found that using a tongue scraper twice a day for seven days reduced the overall incidence of Mutans streptococci and Lactobacilli bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria types are known to cause bad breath and dental decay.
  • Improve overall health. Removing bacteria is key to preventing cavities, gum disease, and other conditions affecting the mouth. Tongue scraping can help clear these bacteria from the mouth, improving your tongue’s appearance and overall sensation.
  • Reduce bad breath. Although tongue scraping can’t replace brushing your teeth, scraping may do some things better. Researchers in one 2004 study found that scraping was more effective than brushing at removing odor-causing bacteria.

How to Perform a Tongue Scraping

  1. Stand in front of a mirror, open your mouth, and stick out your tongue.
  2. Gently set the rounded end of the tongue scraper at the back of your tongue.
  3. If you’re worried about gagging, you may find it helpful to start at the middle of your tongue. You can gradually start from farther back as you get used to scraping.
  4. Gently touch the scraper to your tongue. Slowly pull it forward, toward the tip of your tongue. You should never push the scraper from the tip of your tongue back. Always go from the back of the tongue to the tip.
  5. After each scrape, use a washcloth or tissue to remove debris from the scraper.
  6. Repeat until you’ve scraped the entire surface of your tongue. One to two scrapes across the same area is usually enough.
  7. Wash the tongue scraper with warm water and soap, dry, and store in a clean, dry area.

The entire process usually takes less than two minutes. Repeat as needed throughout the day.

We would be happy to answer any questions you might have about tongue scraping and to arrange a consultation with you Dr. Antonio Lopez. We offer exams, cosmetic dentistry, child dentistry, kid dentistry, and pediatric dentistry in Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, and all of the surrounding Tri-cities areas. Call our Kennewick Washington office today at 509.579.0759

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