The tongue harbours more bacteria than any other part of the mouth. Some bacteria are of the good variety and some are hostile and evil but all of them produce the smelly waste that gives you bad breath. Removing some of this excess bacteria regularly can do wonders for your breath as well as improving your oral and general health. There are many different types of tongue cleaners on the market. We picked out 4 of the best-selling options to compare them on effectiveness, comfort, quality, and cost. A good tongue cleaner should be able to loosen and remove as much of the debris off of the surface of the tongue without causing excessive gagging or discomfort.
What is a tongue scraper?
A tongue scraper is a specially designed oral health tool for cleaning the top surface of the tongue. They are usually manufactured from plastic, copper or stainless steel and are available in many different shapes and styles. The most commonly used tongue scrapers are the two-handled U-shape cleaners and the single handled T-shaped cleaners. Alternatively, there are also cleaning brushes available that are designed specifically for cleaning the tongue surface.
What is tongue scraping?
Although tongue cleaning is not yet part of the daily routine for most people in western society, it has been recognized as an import cleaning ritual in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Jihwa Prakshalana is the ancient practice of scraping the tongue clean of food debris, dead cells, bacteria, and toxins. Ayurvedic medicine uses the appearance and health of the tongue to diagnose ailments and health disorders because the tongue was viewed as a mirror to the internal organs of the body. In Ayurvedic medicine, the health of the tongue is an indication of the health state of the whole body. Western research into the effectiveness of Ayurvedic medicine is very limited, but recent studies are showing that scraping the tongue clean every day will considerably reduce the bacterial load in the mouth resulting in fresher breath and potentially better health. In fact, a number of English Premier League football teams are experimenting with Tongue cleaners in an effort to improve the oral health of their squad members.
Why is it important to clean your tongue?
We all know that daily teeth brushing and flossing sessions are vital for maintaining good oral health. However, many people are unaware that the majority of bacteria in the mouth is actually harbored on the tongue. The tongue accounts for 1/3 of the mouth surface area and there are about four times more bacteria on each tongue cell compared to any other cell in the mouth. The tongue is a complex organ that performs amazing tasks for us but it also happens to be a superb depository for collecting food debris and bacteria. The visible white coating on the tongue is the resulting layer of evil-smelling sulfur compounds excreted by populations of bacteria. Even a rigorous routine of teeth brushing, flossing, and water flossing will do little to reduce this carpet of bacteria on the tongue. So, if you really want to give your mouth a completely clean, it might be time to get yourself an effective tongue scraper or cleaner.
6 reasons to start cleaning your tongue.
- Prevents bad breath. Over 80% of halitosis (bad breath) can be attributed to a build-up of bacteria, food debris, and dead cells on the tongue.
- Reduces the density of bacteria on the tongue. The less harmful bacteria you have in your system the better. Large colonies of harmful bacteria can increase the chance of tooth decay and gum disease. It is also now known that oral bacteria can travel through the bloodstream and affect major organs and body function.
- Decreases the chance of tooth decay and gum disease. Keeping bacteria in check with a regular cleaning routine goes a long way towards avoiding tooth decay and gum disease.
- A coating of bacteria and debris on the tongue surface can affect our sense of taste. Food and drink can seem dull and bland. Research has shown that scraping the tongue clean can increase the taste buds threshold, especially in older people. An increase in taste threshold can decrease cravings for unhealthy salty or sweet foods.
- Improves tongue appearance. Regular tongue cleanings can return the tongue to a healthy pink color.
- As we get older, our saliva count decreases and we simply don’t produce enough saliva to cleanse the tongue naturally.
What is the best way to clean your tongue?
By far the best way to clean the surface of your tongue is with a specially designed tongue scraper. They are cheap, readily available and have been proven to be more effective than cleaning with a regular toothbrush. A toothbrush is designed for cleaning the smooth surface of tooth enamel and is ill-equipped for cleaning the rough surface of the tongue. Although a toothbrush will dislodge bacteria and debris it does not do a great job of actually removing it from the mouth. When cleaning your tongue, it is more beneficial to use a tongue scraper that collects the debris as it cleans so all the unpleasantness can be removed from the mouth and rinsed away down the sink. Cleaning a lot of bacteria off the tongue and then swallowing it is never a good idea!
What is the best tongue cleaner?
Cleaning your tongue regularly with an efficient tongue scraper is a great way to improve your oral health and freshen up your breath at the same time. There are many choices available, but some tongue scrapers are more efficient than others. We have picked out 4 different brands to evaluate the following points –
- Effectiveness at removing tongue coating.
- Ease of use.
- How comfortable they are to use.
- Value for money.
Option 1 – TUNG Brush
The Tung brush is designed to be used together with the Tung gel to give the tongue a complete clean. The gel is specially formulated for deep cleaning the tongue and neutralizing bad breath odor. The Tung cleaning system is popular with many people because the combination of the circular brush and the minty flavored gel give a pleasurable experience compared to other scrapers and cleaners.
Peak Essential’s The Original Tung Brush is an American product, as indicated by the Star Spangled Banner and ‘Made in America’ emblazoned on its packaging. At first glance, it’s very similar in design to a standard toothbrush, with the main difference being its flat, circular head and bristle design. It’s intended to be used in conjunction with Peak Essential’s Original Tung Gel, which is a fresh mint gel which contains zinc. (The brush came packaged with a free sample of gel.)
To use, you apply the gel to the brush head, then gently brush forward from the base of your extended tongue to the tip for approximately ten seconds, then rinse clean. It recommends using every time you brush your teeth and replace at least every three months, whenever your toothbrush needs replacing.
– As The Original Tung Brush looks like a standard toothbrush, one immediately might feel that it may be another unnecessary addition to the bathroom, until one comes into contact with this design’s round, much softer bristle head. Comfortable on the surface of the tongue, the gel taste was pleasant enough and left a fresh aftertaste. Straight forward to use, if slightly more fuss than the Amano and Dr. Tung, it was still very effective, though will require replacing every few months. 4/5
- Value for money 88%
- Effectivness 88%
- Ease of use 95%
- comfortability 95%
Option 2 – Amano Tongue Cleanser
The Amano tongue cleanser is one of the most substantial and stylishly designed tongue cleaners. The U shaped cleaning blade is forged from high-grade chromium and nickel alloy making this a durable tongue cleaning device that will last for years. The cleaning blade is ergonomically designed to minimise the gag reflex as it is moved towards the back of the throat.
Amano Tongue Cleanser
Amano was founded in London in 1992 and have been manufacturing high-quality tongue cleaners ever since. The Amano tongue cleansers are crafted in Italy and come in a very stylish and hygienic plastic storage case. With a curved cleaning blade made of high-grade chromium and nickel alloy, these tongue scrapers are easy to use and easy to keep clean. According to the manufacturers, it’s based on a 2000-year-old Roman design, which has now been given a 21st Century update. To use, you simply hold the handles in each hand, and place the metal head towards the back of your extended tongue, then draw it gently forward across the surface to the tip, rinse, and repeat if necessary.
It is recommended to use before bed and also after activities such as consuming rich food, smoking, and drinking alcohol. Designed to last for many years, its performance can be maintained by simply rinsing in hot water after use, and is even dishwasher safe.
– The Amano Tongue Cleanser is by far the most aesthetically pleasing of all the tongue scrapers available. Undoubtedly the Italian craftsmanship is to thank for the range of colorful and artistic designs available. The storage case that comes with the cleaner is a welcome extra that will keep the tongue scraper free from the types of bacteria that usually populate bathroom spaces. According to Amano, the scraper blade is precision designed to stop you gagging as you slide it to the back of the tongue. Although it didn’t stop the gag reflex completely when I tested it, it did minimize it to an acceptable level and I found it reasonably pleasant to use. The two handles make it very easy to coordinate and apply the most comfortable pressure as it slides over the tongue surface. Perhaps, the metal scraper touching one’s tongue is not to everyone’s’ taste, but it is very easy to use and clean, will last a long time, and, most importantly, it is also very effective. 5/5
- Value for money 95%
- Effectivness 95%
- Ease of use 92%
- comfortability 90%
Option 3 – Orabrush Tongue Cleaner
Orabrush is probably the best known of all tongue cleaners thanks to their entertaining You tube videos. The Orabrush has a dual cleaning mechanism that is designed to loosen the debris from the tongue surface and then remove it from the mouth with its built in scraper. The Orabrush is designed to be replaced every 3 months.
DenTek’s Orabrush Tongue Cleaner designed like a toothbrush, but with a different head, has super soft bristles, requires no paste or gels to work, and combines both the brush and the scraper in one simple design head. Included in the package is an exposed sample of the bristles, so if you are able to purchase the product in person, you can feel just how soft they actually are. The packaging gives details of video instructions available on youtube; however, on visiting the site, I was confronted by the most inane, and at times, gruesome video, that only an extremely bored child might have continued to watch.
To use, you gently brush your tongue with the OraBrush, then place the plastic scraper at the back of your tongue and remove the residue generated by your brushing, before finally rinsing clean. Similar to a toothbrush, it requires replacing every three to four months.
Verdict – Similarly, with DenTek’s OraBrush Tongue Cleaner which has the shape of a toothbrush, but featuring a very different type of head. The minute one makes contact with the bristles, you realize that using a toothbrush to clean your teeth is just not the right approach. Feeling like a soft nail brush gently gliding across your tongue, it collects the debris satisfactorily, judging by the deposits of gunk that was subsequently washed off under the running tap after use. Simple to use, clean, and store, it worked well; however, it will need replacing every few months, and it didn’t feel quite as effective at removing debris from the tongue as the metal scrapers. 4/5
- Value for money 88%
- Effectivness 95%
- Ease of use 95%
- comfortability 95%
Option 4 – Dr. Tung’s Tongue Scraper.
With over a million units sold worldwide the Dr. Tung tongue scraper is another popular choice. This model uses a stainless steel cleaning blade to scrape away the soft deposits from the tongue surface. The U shaped construction is designed to be held by both hands give precise control of the blade as it is depressed onto the soft tissue of the tongue.
Made of stainless steel, which is impervious to bacteria, and with (in this sample, blue) plastic handles to grip the device, either with one or two hands, Dr. Tung’s Tongue Cleaner has curved cleaning edges to allow precise control and comfort. Just as many people prefer eating with silverware utensils rather than plastic, the same can apply to tongue cleaning. The cleaner resembles a pair of tongs, but in reverse, as it’s the curved end which is used to cleanse the tongue, and glides across it to remove bacteria. According to the packaging, dental experts say it is about 5 times more effective for tongue cleaning than a toothbrush.
It also comes equipped with an extremely handy and useful travel pouch. To use, you place the cleaner as far back on the tongue as is comfortable, then gently slide it forward and repeat three or four times. For best results it’s recommended to use twice daily, and is easy to keep clean; just rinse after use, and it will last for years.
– Dr. Tung’s Tongue Cleaner, with its grip handles and stainless steel scraper, is similar in design to the Amano. Also, it’s travel pouch is a useful free accessory. Again, simple to use and maintain, whilst being very effective. The only reason for giving it less than the Amano, is the travel pouch felt less practical than the other’s plastic holder. 4.9/5
- Value for money 90%
- Effectivness 90%
- Ease of use 90%
- comfortability 90%