Your tongue can contain just as much bacteria as other parts of your mouth. When you forget to regularly clean it, nasty bacteria can multiply and eventually lead to embarrassing halitosis.
Removing nasty bacteria from your tongue using a toothbrush might sound convenient at first. However, studies show that it just isn’t as effective as using a good tongue scraper. After all, toothbrush bristles aren’t really designed to clean the papillae—tiny bumps on the tongue that allow you to taste food and feel texture. When you need to get rid of nasty onion breath before a date, your tongue scraper really will provide better results.
Like toothbrushes and other dental hygiene tools, tongue scrapers only work when used responsibly. Handling your tongue scraper carelessly will only do more harm than good in the long run. Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when cleaning with a tongue scraper.
DO: KEEP AT IT CONSISTENTLY
Consistency is the key to fresh breath and good oral hygiene. When you eat and drink throughout the day, bacteria multiplies and gathers all over the tongue and other parts of your mouth. This is why you should scrape your tongue every time you brush your teeth. Doing so will get rid of germs and bacteria that have built up over the past few hours.
DON’T: GIVE UP AND STOP
Your gag reflex might get in the way when you use a tongue scraper for the first time. Don’t give up after your first few tries! As long as you work hard and persevere, you’ll get used to your brand new tongue scraper in no time.
To lessen your gag reflex, try moving your tongue scraper down from the middle of the tongue instead of all the way back. Once you’ve gotten the feel of it, you can then try moving the scraper down from the back portion of your tongue.
Sticking out your tongue also helps lessen your gag reflex. It also makes it easier for your scraper to clean your tongue’s entire surface area. Don’t be afraid to make a few funny faces while using your tongue scraper!
DO: BE GENTLE
Cleaning your mouth with too much pressure is never good. Using your tongue scraper too roughly can cause serious damage to your taste buds, as well as the delicate skin on your tongue. Unless you want to stop eating anything with flavor for the rest of your life, you’ll really want to be careful with your tongue scraper.
Your grip on your tongue scraper should be firm enough to get rid of dirt and bacteria without causing any cuts. You can start cleaning with a soft grip then slowly increase the pressure the more you get used to your tongue scraper.
DON’T: PANIC AT YELLOW TONGUE
You might see some strange yellow stuff on your scraper. Don’t panic! This is all because of a harmless “Yellow Tongue”—a harmless condition that occurs when the tongue is coated in a thick yellowish substance.
Yellow tongue is usually caused by a buildup of dead skin cells, bacteria, and other discoloring particles on the tongue according to Medical News Today. You should expect this condition to happen if you haven’t given your tongue a good cleaning in a long time. As long as you keep practicing proper and consistent tongue scraping, your tongue’s surface will eventually become much clearer and less grimy in color.
DO: VISIT THE DENTIST IF NEEDED
Although tongue scraping doesn’t generally come with health risks, side effects can and do happen for a number of reasons. If your tongue starts to bleed excessively, or if you start to develop ulcers inside your mouth, stop using your scraper and see your dentist at once. He’ll take care of any harmful symptoms that have shown up, as well as determine whether or not you have any underlying conditions that are getting aggravated by your tongue scraper.
DON’T: USE AN OLD TONGUE SCRAPER
Tongue scrapers aren’t meant to be used forever. You’ll need to replace them every 3-4 months. Using tongue scrapers past their expiration date poses serious risks to both your oral and overall health.
If you accidentally cut your tongue while using an old tongue scraper, bacteria can enter your bloodstream and cause fatal illnesses. Your tongue scraper can also become too worn out for effective cleaning.
DON’T: USE IT AS A SUBSTITUTE
Proper oral hygiene is all about using the proper tools together. It isn’t about only relying on a single tool to do all the work for you. To achieve fresh breath, you should always remember to use your tongue scraper hand in hand with your handy arsenal of oral hygiene equipment.
Another great tool that you can use alongside your tongue scraper is a dental scaler. This incredible device is specially designed to scrape off plaque and bacteria from places where your toothbrush can’t reach, scrub off stubborn food and tobacco stains, and get rid of sticky dental calculus. Visit our online store for easy access to a reliable, inexpensive, and efficient oral hygiene tool made just for you!