The Benefits of Using a Tongue Scraper to Improve Oral Hygiene

The health of our mouth and related dental hygiene habits play a much larger role in overall physical health than most people realize. Gum and periodontal disease have been definitively linked to certain types of cardiovascular issues, as well as with Type 2 diabetes. While brushing and flossing are the most important part of your daily dental routine, people often overlook the value of using a tongue scraper to improve oral hygiene.

What is a Tongue Scraper

A tongue scraper is a small handheld tool designed to remove toxins, debris, and bacteria from the surface of the tongue. They are typically used after brushing and flossing as part of a comprehensive dental care routine. Tongue scrapers are available at most drugstores and online retailers and are relatively inexpensive. There are also some toothbrushes that are designed in such a way to incorporate a tongue scraping feature.

To use a tongue scraper, place the blade at the back of the tongue as far as is comfortable without activating the gag reflex. Gently pull the scraper forward towards the tip of the tongue, repeating this process 1-3 times. Use minimal pressure to avoid hurting or damaging the tongue. When finished, rinse the scraper in warm water and dry before storing. Gargle with mouthwash as a final step.

The Benefits of Using a Tongue Scraper

Our mouths are filled with naturally occurring and airborne-introduced bacteria which can contribute to bad breath and other dental issues. Using a tongue scraper once per day can help improve overall oral hygiene by reducing the number of bacteria and other microorganisms on the tongue.

Removes bacteria and debris from the tongue – the tongue is covered in tiny bumps called papillae, which can trap bacteria and debris. A tongue scraper can effectively remove these bacteria and debris from the tongue, reducing the number of harmful substances in your mouth.

Reduces bad breath – Bad breath is often caused by the buildup of bacteria on the tongue. Using a tongue scraper regularly can help remove these bacteria, leaving the mouth feeling fresher and breath smelling better.

Improves taste sensation – A coated tongue can affect sense of taste, making it difficult to enjoy the flavors of food. Removing the layer of bacteria and debris from your tongue, may improve the tasting experience of certain food flavors.

Promotes overall oral health – Removing bacteria and debris from the tongue can help reduce the risk of developing cavities and gum disease. Left unchecked, gum disease can progress into periodontal disease, a systemic disease that affects whole body health.

Taking Care of Our Mouth and Our Health

Using a tongue scraper as part of an oral hygiene plan can have significant benefits for  oral health and overall well-being. Add a tongue scraper to your daily dental routine:

  • Brush twice per day for 2 minutes each time.
  • Floss in the evening after brushing.
  • Use a tongue scraper after flossing.
  • Rinse with mouthwash.

Schedule twice annual cleanings to remove bacteria and to inspect the health of your mouth both above and below the gumline.

Pay attention to your tongue for significant changes. Stress, the common cold, flu, and allergies are everyday health factors that can cause the color or texture of our tongue to change. It is usually harmless and temporary. But the tongue can also serve as the first indication of a nutritional deficiency, mouth cancer, or other illness. In the presence of long-term discoloration, sores that do not heal, pain or sensitivity, or an extreme change in texture, contact your dentist immediately.

At Imperial Dental Center, it is our goal to make all of your visits stress-free and enjoyable while serving the local community as an affordable dental office. Contact us at (281) 265-3567 or schedule an online appointment.


Dr. Dragana Angelova
Imperial Dental Center
“We love to see you smile”