The tongue’s surface area has hundreds of finger-like projections called papillae that give it a rough texture. Amazingly, the papillae on your tongue are formed in a pattern that is unique, just like your fingerprints.

Papillae projections also give your tongue a carpet-like surface which easily harbors food debris, bacteria, dead cells, and plaque. When all these are left to accumulate, they can cause bad breath as well as other dental health issues. Thus, for optimal oral health, dentists recommend that you also scrape your tongue when practicing your oral care routine. Stick around to learn more about the easy ways to clean your tongue and improve your oral health.

Ways to Efficiently Clean Your Tongue

During most oral care routines, people easily focus on their teeth and gums, forgetting about the tongue. To better your oral health, dental experts at Dental Care South recommend sparing at least two minutes for an ideal oral care routine to clean your teeth and tongue. Here are some tongue-cleaning options you can experiment with for a healthier mouth:

  • Your toothbrush – A toothbrush is the easiest way to scrape your tongue clean. After cleaning your teeth, rinse the toothbrush off, brush the whole tongue’s surface area for 15 to 30 seconds, and rinse again. If you frequently experience the gag reflex when you clean your tongue with a toothbrush, you can switch the tongue-cleaning routine to nighttime instead of morning hours.
  • Antiseptic mouthwash – Using an antiseptic mouthwash formula is an additional way to better your oral hygiene. Swishing with an antiseptic formula will help kill harmful oral bacteria and reduce plaque formation on the tongue, freshening your breath. However, you should note that using mouthwash is not a substitute for daily brushing and dental flossing.
  • Tongue scraper – This is one simple and inexpensive tool sold online and in most drugstores that you can use to clean the tongue. To use a tongue scraper, grasp both its handles and pass it over the tongue with an even light pressure several times, rinsing it off with each glide.

Scraping Your Tongue: How to Do It the Right Way

A good dental care foundation includes preventive dentistry near you like regular teeth brushing, flossing, and routine oral checkups with your dentist. However, since the tongue is a harbor for around 50 percent of bacteria in your oral cavity, it should also be cleaned properly. Below is a guide on how to scrape your tongue the right way.

To perform a tongue scraping, you first need to have a tongue scraper. Most tongue scrapers are made from stainless steel, copper, and plastic and usually have a slightly-round shape resembling an inverted spoon.

With your scraper in your hand, stand in front of a clear mirror and stick your tongue out. Gently place the rounded end of the scraper at your tongue’s back and slowly move it forward toward the tongue’s tip. With each scrape, rinse the debris off the tongue scraper with a tissue or washcloth, and then repeat until you scrape the whole tongue surface. One or two scrapes are usually enough to cover one area. When using a tongue scraper, always move in a back-to-front motion, and when you are done, wash it with warm water and store it in a dry and clean area.

When scraping your tongue, apply gentle pressure to avoid accidentally cutting your tongue’s surface with your scraper. Also, before scraping your tongue, make sure the tongue scraper has smooth and even edges. This is because rough or uneven edges can damage the tongue’s surface.

Tongue Scraping Benefits

Some of the benefits of scraping your tongue are:

  • Eliminates bacteria found on the tongue’s papillae
  • Improves tongue appearance
  • It reduces bad breath
  • Improves your taste and overall health

More Oral Health Care Tips

Although tongue scraping is beneficial, you will still need a well-rounded dental care routine for optimal oral health. Here are other preventive dental care practices that can improve and help maintain your overall dental health.

  • Brush your teeth with fluoride-based toothpaste to protect your teeth from cavities
  • Limit your use of tobacco and its products since they contribute to the buildup on your tongue
  • Drink water in plenty through the day to avoid a dry mouth, which causes bad breath
  • Visit your dentist in Tuscaloosa, AL, regularly for teeth cleanings and oral checkups.

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