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A tongue scraper is a metal or plastic device used to clean the surface of the tongue. There are no official guidelines on how often you should use it.
Editor’s note: Jocelyn Solis Moreira is a freelance health science journalist based in New York.
If you can’t seem to get the taste of onions, garlic, or cheese out of your mouth after eating them, brushingusing a tongue scraper may help.
As one of the most flexible muscles in the body, tongue have several jobs. Assists with speech and actively moves food to make it easier to taste, chew, and swallow. However, when you open your mouth, bacteria enter, and over time they clump together and form colonies on your tongue.
everyone has bacteria on tongue — Some are good, but most are bad. Tongue scrapers are an effective way to remove these bacteria if done correctly.
A tongue scraper is a metal or plastic device used to clean the surface of the tongue. “It’s like a tongue comb,” said Dr. Michael Cosdon, a cosmetic dentist at Smiles of New York in Manhattan.
This tool strips away the white membrane that contains the buildup of bacteria, food particles, and dead cells trapped in the crevices of the taste buds on your tongue. This includes sulfur-causing bacteria that cause bad breath.
Cosdon says rubbing your tongue can help “if you have a lot of bacteria or film on your tongue.” “When you scrape it off, it actually tastes better because the bacteria is covering the location of your taste buds.”
Some medical studies support the use of tongue scraping. remove bacteria from tongue and bad breath, but most of the studies were small and did not show strong results. In the few clinical trials available, Slightly greater benefit Using a tongue scraper to clean the tongue rather than brushing the teeth was effective, but these effects were temporary.
Due to a lack of strong evidence, the American Dental Association currently does not recommend tongue scrapers. But there’s no harm in trying it out if you’re interested. As long as people prioritize other recommendations like brushing their teeth for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste, flossing and visiting the dentist regularly, said Dr. Alice Boghossian, spokesperson for Consumer Advisor. . For the American Dental Association.
“Personally, I rub my tongue at night before I go to bed and in the morning after I floss and brush my teeth,” Boghossian said. “I feel like my mouth is cleaner.”
Cosdon says you can use a tongue scraper just like using a razor.
Remove bacteria by moving your tongue up and down 3 to 5 times, applying slight pressure as you rub your tongue. Instead of trying to push the tongue scraper all the way down to the back of your tongue, consider starting in the middle. The further back you go, the greater the risk of triggering the gag reflex.
Do not press too hard. If you press too hard, you can cause microscopic scratches on the tiny projections on your tongue called papillae. These little bumps contain taste buds, and eating acidic or spicy foods can damage them and cause irritation and inflammation.
“It’s a trial and error process,” Bogosian said. “Try it out and see how much plaque you can remove without cutting your hands.”
If you are not using a disposable, one-time use tongue scraper, wash it with soap and water after each use. Cosdon advised thoroughly disinfecting the tongue scraper by soaking it in a glass of water mixed with hydrogen peroxide for a few minutes.
There are no official guidelines on how often you should use a tongue scraper. Boghossian said that as long as people stick to the checklist of brushing their teeth twice a day and flossing, they can use a tongue scraper whenever they feel they need a deeper scrub. .
If you’re looking to add more tongue scraping to your oral hygiene routine, Cosdon recommends doing it at least twice a day. “This is probably something everyone should do in their hygiene routine. It can’t hurt to try it if done properly.”