Tongue Scraping: Should You Do It?

When dental health products become more mainstream, you may find yourself wondering if you need to upgrade your routine to include them. You have likely heard that you should brush your tongue, and some toothbrushes even have a tongue brush on the other side of the bristles. However, there is also a different tool you can use to clean your tongue: a tongue scraper. In today’s blog, your Charles City, IA, dentist will share some information about the potential benefits of tongue scraping so that you can decide if it will be right for you.

Why Use a Tongue Scraper?

A tongue scraper is a tool, similar to the one in the image above, that is usually made of plastic for the purpose of removing volatile sulfur compounds or VSCs. VSCs are odor causing substances that cause bad breath, the main symptom that tongue scraping seeks to eradicate. If you have halitosis (chronic bad breath), your dentist has probably recommended cleaning your tongue in addition to practicing good habits like brushing and flossing your teeth thoroughly since these alone don’t always do enough to help your breath’s odor.

Another reason for using a tongue scraper could be to reduce the amount of cavity and gingivitis causing bacteria in your mouth in addition to relieving bad breath. This feature would be beneficial as an extra line of defense against decay and needing future restorative care, but the actual benefits haven’t been studied very thoroughly.

Inconclusive Results

The results of all tests meant to prove whether or not tongue scrapers are helpful in reducing harmful bacteria and improving bad breath are largely inconclusive. Many studies that have been done have used a small sample size, which makes the results less trustworthy. Furthermore, some studies showed that, while tongue scrapers do help to remove the coating from people’s tongues, they did not noticeably improve bad breath. Another showed that participants felt that their tongues were cleaner, although the actual bacteria amount was not reduced, and another found that brushing your tongue with a toothbrush was more effective than a tongue scraper. Yet another showed that brushing or scraping children’s tongues does help to reduce cavities. So, it’s all pretty contradictory.

Potential Dangers

Since some studies have shown that tongue scraping is helpful and others have found results to be inconclusive, it is important to know if there are any risks associated with tongue scraping. Luckily for anyone who wants to try it, the answer is almost always no. If you experience pain when scraping your tongue, that isn’t normal and you should discontinue use and contact your dentist. It is possible that your tongue scraper may have a jagged edge from a manufacturing defect, or you may have a preexisting condition causing your tongue to be more sensitive, which your dentist can help you detect. Otherwise, trying out tongue scraping is pretty safe, and you could be one of the people that it helps!

Have More Questions? Ask Us!

If you have any questions about new additions to your dental health routine, or if you are due for your six month checkup and cleaning, schedule a visit by calling Central Park Dentistry in Charles City, IA, today at (641) 228-1115. We also proudly welcome patients from Greene, Nashua, and all surrounding communities.

Call Central Park Dentistry in Charles City, IA Today!

At Central Park Dentistry, we offer a variety of dental treatments that are customized for each member of your family, including in-house root canal treatment, tooth extractions, dental implant placement, and same-day emergency dental visits, when necessary. To schedule a consultation or dental appointment with Dr. Hansen, call our dental office in Charles City, IA today at (641) 228-1115. We also proudly welcome patients from Osage, New Hampton, Greene, Nashua, Nora Springs, Riceville, and all surrounding communities.