What is Tongue Scraping?
Tongue scraping is a technique for cleaning the tongue, using a special tongue cleaning device or a toothbrush. Tongue scraping is thought by some to improve oral hygiene and reduce the risk of bad breath. However, not all people agree it is necessary.
Are There Benefits to Tongue Scraping?
Generally, people who have added tongue scraping into their dental care routine do so because they believe it will further clean their mouths by removing the odor causing substances on the tongue. While there is some evidence that tongue scraping does improve oral hygiene, research is inconclusive.
Here is Some Tongue Scaping Research
- Not surprisingly, a Cochrane review found “weak and unreliable evidence” to show that the use of tongue scrapers are more effective than toothbrushes in reducing the odor causing substances of the tongue… and do not improve bad breath.
- A 2018 analysis of four randomized medical trials on tongue scraping found that while tongue scraping improved the “tongue coating index scores” it did not reduce the odor causing substances of the tongue significantly.
- A 2019 Cochrane review looked at studies on measures to reduce bad breath (halitosis). These studies did show a small improvement in tongue coating scores and reduction of the odor causing substances of the tongue. However, since this was a small research set, which only lasted a few weeks, it is considered inconclusive.
What are the Cons of Tongue Scraping?
While the evidence of tongue-scraping as a “miracle” oral hygiene technique is not strong, it is also important to know it is not harmful. As long as tongue scraping is not overly aggressive (causing cuts or bruising to the tongue), there are no down sides. There is some research and a lot of anecdotal evidence that tongue scraping can be beneficial, and many people feel their mouths are cleaner after employing tongue scraping. If you are one of the people who like to practice tongue scraping—and it makes you feel that you have better oral hygiene when you do so—then there are no known negatives to doing so.
What is More Effective than Tongue Scraping?
If you had to choose where to spend your oral hygiene time, it would be best served first brushing, then flossing, and then rinsing with an ADA approved mouth rinse before you employ tongue-scraping. However, the extra time and attention on your tongue may leave your mouth feeling fresher and cleaner, and only takes seconds!
If you have specific questions about the best way to maintain your oral health, our dental office is always happy to help. Give us a call to schedule your next dental consultation.