November 25, 2020 5 min read
As we covered in another blog, there are many benefits to your oral health from tongue cleaning. But are all tongue cleaners alike? Can't one just use a toothbrush to scrub the tongue or even a kitchen spoon. Let's take a look.
A tongue scraper is a dental tool that removes excess bacteria, leftover food particles, and coating from a person's tongue and improves the quality of oral health. As we know, scraping your tongue could help maintain oral hygiene and improve bad breath in your mouth.
If you are worried about how to select and use a tongue scraper for better oral health, then you should choose the quality and right material for your tongue scraper. The material that you choose to make your tongue scraper determines how long it should be kept and how often you should clean it. If you have sensitive tongues, you can use a plastic scraper to clean them.
Tongue scraping is a traditional Ayurvedic hygiene ritual that has been used for centuries. Although research is mixed on the effectiveness of tongue scraping, it should not be considered a replacement for other forms of hygiene such as flossing and brushing. However, many people suffering from halitosis or "coated tongue" are using tongue scrappers to avoid bad breath and gum diseases.
There are numerous tongue cleaners to choose from, so finding one should not be a problem. Here are some options:
Yes, you can use your toothbrush to give the surface of your tongue a light scrub. But this should only be used when nothing else is available. While a toothbrush is better than nothing, studies have shown that they are not as effective as using an actual tongue cleaner. One clinical study showed that a tongue cleaner reduced VSC levels (Volatile Sulfur Compounds–the main driver of bad breath) by 75% while using a toothbrush to clean the tongue only reduced levels by 45%. That is a big difference. (Note: in a pinch you can even use a kitchen spoon, but as tongue scrapers are pretty inexpensive, just buy one)
These are very popular in Ayurvedic medicine. This is due to the property of copper to inhibit bacterial growth. For centuries copper has been used where it was important to inhibit bacterial growth, such as water containers. Other studies suggest that copper is used naturally within our bodies to fight microbes and pathogens. While this makes copper a great choice for a tongue scraper, there are some potential downsides.
while cheap and easy to carry, these are our least favorite option if for no other reason than they are environmentally wasteful.
Other than the fact that they might feel gentler on your tongue, there is no good reason to buy a plastic model.
These are by far our favorites. Just be sure to buy a quality model that is made from surgical stainless steel as they last longer and feel better on your tongue. Also look to see that they have a gentle curve to the blade so as not to irritate the delicate bumps, papillae, on your tongue. Since stainless steel is so hard, it is very unlikely to develop any irregularities with use that might injure your tongue. It is by far the longest lasting material and so this one is the more economical choice over time.
Before looking at how to choose tongue scrapers, it’s important to know the difference between copper and stainless-steel tongue scrappers.
If you are searching for an antimicrobial tongue scraper, then a copper tongue scraper is the ideal choice. This may not be an important consideration, but many people prefer copper because of its natural antimicrobial qualities. It is important to dry the copper tongue scraper completely after each use. However, some people report tarnishing after a few months despite following the care instructions.
You have many options when searching for a stainless-steel tongue scraper. These scrapers are made of surgical-grade stainless but are not inherently antibacterial.
Both of these scrappers work well to clean your tongue, but Stainless-steel tongue scrapers tend to be less expensive than copper ones and don't tarnish as much. The durable material can last for many years with proper care. It is also safe and non-toxic when made from medical-grade metal.
These scrapers are typically more durable than plastic ones. You can clean your entire tongue with just one pass if you are careful. However, it is possible to do more than one. If you keep them clean, stainless steel and copper tongue scrapers will last for years.
There are many options available for tongue scrapers, but if you want to shop for a branded, Ergonomically Designed Tongue Cleaner, Then Great oral health will be your first choice. They offer two types of tongue scrapers, one made of surgical-grade stainless and one made of food-grade copper. They are both highest standards and can withstand years of use.
It is best to purchase a tongue scraper that has grooves or some arrangement on the handle to make them easy to grip. And you should only buy a tongue cleaner that is one solid piece. Those metal scrapers with plastic handles are not preferable as they tend to collect bacteria in the handles–yuck factor alert.
Finally, the edge of the blade is pretty important. What you want is a clean, even surface that is just the right balance between “scraping edge” and gentle “curve” so that you can clean off the debris and bacteria without irritating your tongue.
Ok, time to go buy a tongue cleaner and get on the road to fresher breath, fewer cavities and better oral health. And while you are searching for a tongue cleaner, be sure to check out our surgical-grade, stainless steel tongue cleaner that was designed by our holistic dentist.