Did you know that over 80% of bad breath originates from the bacteria that live in the nooks and crannies of your tongue? Scraping your tongue is just as essential as brushing your teeth if you want to maintain fresh breath and great dental health. In this article we demonstrate 6 of the best tongue scraper and recommend a cleansing spray to give an extra deep clean.
Dr. Mohamed Hamid gives his expert opinion and we finish up by answering some of the most common questions.
6 Of The Best Tongue Scrapers 2019
We picked out 6 of the best tongue care products on the market and compared them on effectiveness, comfort, quality, and cost. A well designed tongue cleaner is the best tool for loosening and removing the debris off the surface of the tongue without causing gagging or discomfort. We have picked out models of varying shapes and sizes to suit every mouth. Check out the videos below to see all 6 in action..
The small head minimizes the gag reflex and allows it to be placed further towards the back of the tongue. Secondly, the Wondrous scraper features a row of micro-grooves that can slide through the cracks in the tongue surface and disrupt and remove the food debris and bacteria.
The Orabrush tongue scraper is probably the most famous and recognizable of all the tongue cleaning options. This scraper has a dual-action cleaning mechanism that uses micro-pointed brush bristles combined with a plastic lipped scraper blade to remove the coating from the tongue surface.
The Tung brush is designed to be used together with the Tung gel to give your tongue a complete clean. The gel is formulated for deep cleaning and neutralizing bad breath odor. The combination of the brush and gels helps give a deeper clean.
The Dr. Tung scraper is a U-shaped scraper that features a stainless steel cleaning blade and comfort grip handles. The contoured knife blade is designed to remove the residual coating of the tongue as efficiently as possible. The scraper is available in a selection of colors and comes with a handy bamboo fiber travel pouch.
Blade Material: Stainless Steel
The Amano cleanser is one of the most substantial and stylishly options. The U shaped cleaning blade is forged from durable high-grade chromium and nickel alloy. The cleaning blade is ergonomically designed to minimize the gag reflex as the user moves it towards the back of the mouth.
Blade Material: chromium and nickel alloy
One of the best ways to add tongue cleaning to your daily oral health routine is to use a cleaner attachment for your toothbrush. If you already own a Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush, you can buy a little attachment kit that fits onto the handle to give your tongue an amazing clean with minimal effort.
Product: Toothbrush Attachment
Blade Material: Plastic
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Research has shown that using cleansing spray products in conjunction with a tongue scraper can further aid the cleaning process.
What types are available
There are many different styles of scraper available. We have highlighted the best options below.
Ergonomically designed t-shaped cleaning heads and handles allow the user to place the scraper right to the back of the mouth without triggering the gag reflex. This type of tongue scraper is best for people with small mouths or a strong gag reflex.
Ask The Dentist
Cleaning the tongue is not a new practice. Historical research has shown that this habit has been present for centuries in Europe, Asia, Arabia, and pretty much everywhere except for western civilizations. Throughout history, people have used tongue scrapers made of wood, mother of pearl, copper or even gold.
One key focus point to consider is the relationship between tongue cleaning and bad breath, also known as Halitosis. Halitosis is a condition that affects a significant number of people, and while most of them carry out oral hygiene measures to the best of their ability, they still suffer bad breath, and that is why numerous researchers have placed the matter under the microscope, in order to find a reason and hopefully a cure for this embarrassing condition.
ASCRO published a study of particular interest since it talks about the tongue from a morphological view. They made impressions of the tongue surface and studied these under the microscope. The study showed the intricate nature of the tongue surface, including the papillae (these are micro-organs responsible for sensation and taste), and these papillae are shaped like a cup with a lid on it, with only a small slit around that lid. This structure means that when debris and biofilm become trapped inside the papillae, the bacteria can begin to cause bad breath and infections.
Another point to consider about tongue hygiene is the direct relationship between oral health and the general health. Several studies have directly linked oral hygiene to eye infections, joint diseases, heart conditions and even premature labor.
In conclusion, there is irrefutable evidence linking tongue cleanliness with bad breath and other systemic diseases. I wholeheartedly recommend that you add tongue cleaning to your daily routine. I guarantee once you take a look at the amount of debris collected on the scraper you won’t look back.
Mohamed Tarek Galal Abdel Hamid
BDS, MFDS RCSEd, Member of AACD
Dr. Mohamed Tarek Galal Abdel Hamid is a practicing dentist, the founder and owner of Confidental.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions on buying, using and cleaning tongue scrapers and brushes.
Can I use a toothbrush to clean my tongue?
Generally speaking, the bristles on a regular toothbrush are too soft to mechanically remove the layer of debris and bacteria from the tongue surface. Toothbrushes are designed to clean the smooth surfaces of enamel rather than the soft tissue of the tongue. Also, a toothbrush is more likely to induce your natural gag reflex. Using a dedicated tongue cleaner is usually a better option because they are ergonomically designed to remove the maximum amount of film without causing discomfort.
How long do they last?
The recommended lifespan of a tongue scraper depends on the brand. If you own a Plastic model like the Orabrush or Tung brush, you should replace it every three months. Metal bladed scrapers like the Amano tongue cleanser will last for many years.
Why not just use mouthwash instead of tongue cleaning to get rid of bad breath?
Mouthwashes can be useful as a quick fix in an emergency because they can undoubtedly neutralize foul-smelling odor, but unfortunately, they are usually just masking the problem rather than curing it. By using a tongue scraper, you can safely remove the root cause of bad breath by preventing a layer of debris from building up.
What is the best way to clean a tongue scraper?
After using a tongue cleaning device, rinse it under the tap and allow to air dry. To sanitize the scraper you can dip it in an antibacterial mouthwash. Also, you can usually clean tongue scrapers in your dishwasher.
If 80% of bad breath comes from the tongue, do we need to brush our teeth?
Yes! Tongue care should be part of your daily oral health routine, but it does not replace the need to brush your teeth. It is vital to remove bacterial plaque from your teeth every day to avoid cavities and gum disease. It is recommended to brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day.
What should I do if cleaning my tongue makes me gag?
It is entirely normal for the back of your throat to spasm when you place something like a tongue cleaner towards the rear of the mouth. Having said that, if you use a specially designed scraper you should be able to clean your tongue without too much discomfort. If you are having difficulty with gagging, try slowing moving the cleaner to the rear of the mouth and then scraping with forwarding motions only.
Is tongue scraping painful?
Cleansing your tongue should not be painful, if you feel tenderness afterward, you may be applying too much pressure with your cleaning device. Try using gentler cleaning motions and only clean your tongue every second or third day until you get used to the process. If you continue to experience pain and sensitivity, it is best to discontinue using a tongue scraper and seek advice from your dentist.
Authors & Contributors
Dr. Mohamed Hamid DDS
Int J Dent Hygiene 8, 2010; 258–268
Van der Sleen MI, Slot DE, Van Trijffel E, Winkel EG, Van der Weijden GA. The effect of mechanical tongue cleaning on breath odor and tongue coating: a systematic review.
Tongue scraping for treating halitosis Review
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews – Tongue scraping for treating halitosis Review
Authors – Trent L Outhouse, Rashad Al‐Alawi, Zbys Fedorowicz, James V Keenan
Clinical efficacy of a new tooth and tongue gel applied with a tongue cleaner in reducing oral halitosis.
Wilhelm D1, Himmelmann A, Axmann EM, Wilhelm KP.
proDERM Institute for Applied Dermatological Research, Schenefeld, Germany.
Department of Periodontology, School of Dentistry, Oral Pathology and Maxillo-Facial Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. [email protected]