What Is Tongue Scraping, and Should I Be Doing It?

What Is Tongue Scraping, and Should I Be Doing It?

It’s no secret that brushing and flossing plays a crucial role in oral health. And, to keep your teeth and gums and optimal health, you shouldn’t skip your dental visits twice a year. But did you know there are additional steps you can take to amp up your oral hygiene practices?

At our world-class dental office, the Supertooth™ team specializes in family and general dentistry, and we treat patients of all ages and backgrounds. Not only do we rely on the most advanced technology to keep people from all over Montgomery County and the surrounding communities healthy, but we encourage the most simple and accessible too.

For instance, we could suggest using mouthwash or investing in a water pick to make flossing easier. However, another surefire way to improve oral health involves tongue scraping — here’s why.

How tongue scraping works

Tongue scraping may sound scary or weird, but it’s simple, painless, and easy to increase your mouth’s cleanliness. After all, bacteria live in more places than your teeth and gums — it also lives on your tongue. And, when you leave dead cells, bacteria, and bits of food to build up on this surface, it can cause issues. 

For the most part, your tongue contains mostly good bacteria. However, it’s also a space where bad bacteria can thrive. The result? Bad breath, tooth decay, or gum disease. That’s where tongue scraping comes in.

The main purpose of tongue scraping is to remove bacteria and debris from the surface of your tongue. You use a special rounded tool made specifically for this purpose, either from plastic or metal. As you scrape, you start at the back of your tongue, drawing the tool forward. Then, clean the scraper.

The best part? You only need one of two passes to remove any buildup, leaving your mouth cleaner and fresher.

We recommend making tongue scraping part of your dental hygiene routine — do it at the same time you brush your teeth. In most cases, adding this step to your morning or evening regimen generally offers the most oral health benefits. 

The benefits of tongue scraping

There are many things to love about tongue scraping, especially how it can prevent bad breath. But that’s not all. Other benefits of tongue scraping include:

Decreased risk of decay

Reducing bacteria on your tongue can decrease your risk of tooth decay. That’s because several types of bacteria that thrive on your tongue can also erode the enamel of your teeth, leading to cavities or tooth loss. 

A healthier-looking tongue

Ever feel like your tongue has a white coating? Scraping removes the bacteria causing this unhealthy appearance. 

Improved taste 

Daily tongue scraping can improve your sense of taste. When you remove the debris and bacteria coating this surface, your taste buds can better differentiate between salty, sweet, sour, and bitter flavors. 

The potential challenges to tongue scraping

As beneficial as tongue scraping can be, there is one potential downside — some people say it triggers their gag reflex. Fortunately, you can avoid that issue by paying attention to how far back you place the scraper. 

We also recommend using a high-quality scraper to limit tissue damage or cuts. We can offer guidance on safe, affordable tongue scrapers and best practices for using them.

Finally, if you have a sensitive gag reflex or forget to take your scraper while on the road, you can always use your toothbrush to clean your tongue. 

Curious to learn more about tongue scraping? Contact Supertooth to schedule a visit with one of our skilled dentists in Bethesda, Gaithersburg, or Germantown, Maryland, today.

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