You might have seen tongue scrapers for sale at your local chemist and wondered if you need to buy one. Whilst the idea of scraping your tongue every day might initially seem odd, it's actually something that can be highly beneficial for your oral health and wellness. If you're considering a tongue scraper, read below to find out what you need to know before you start.
The Purpose of a Tongue Scraper
A tongue scraper is used to remove bacteria on the tongue. It's completely normal for the tongue to accumulate a large amount of bacteria throughout the day, especially after you eat a meal. Whilst brushing protects your teeth and gums, it doesn't do too much for the tongue -- even if you actually scrub your tongue with the toothbrush. Bacteria tends to really cling to the tongue, and a tongue scraper is specially designed to remove it neatly and efficiently.
The Effects of Bacteria Buildup on the Tongue
If tongue bacteria is allowed to build up, it starts to generate sulfuric compounds. These compounds then give rise to bad breath, and they can also cause gum disease over time. If gum disease isn't treated, it can eventually weaken and destroy the gums, the teeth, and even the bone supporting the teeth. In fact, gum disease can have serious whole body consequences. Untreated gum disease puts a person at double the risk for heart disease.
How to Use a Tongue Scraper
Since you're new to tongue scrapers, they may seem as if they'd be challenging to use at first. In fact, the use of a tongue scraper is actually quite simple as long as you know the right technique. Technique tips include:
- Begin from the back: begin on the back part of your tongue and bring the tongue scraper forward.
- Use sweeping motions: use gentle sweeping motions. Usually, just a few of these motions is enough to cover your tongue. Try for one sweep on the right side, one on the left side, and one down the centre of the tongue.
- Clean before reusing: if you've purchased a metal tongue scraper that's designed for long term use, be sure to clean it thoroughly with hot water after each use. You've also got the option of disposable tongue scrapers that you can simply toss in the rubbish bin after each use.
When you start using a tongue scraper, be sure to speak to your dentist about technique and usage. Your dentist will surely be impressed with your commitment to better oral health!