What are the Benefits of Tongue Scraping?

Oral health goes beyond just cleaning your teeth and gums. Your tongue makes an important part of the system but often gets sidelined.

Tongue scraping should hold a steady spot in your dental care routine. Brushing, rinsing, and flossing cannot make up for the lack of tongue scraping. In this blog, we tell you what tongue scraping is, the numerous benefits it has, its origin and adoption into modern dental care practices, and how to perform it the right way. So let’s get into it!


What is tongue scraping?

What is tongue scraping

Tongue scraping is a basic oral hygiene habit that helps remove bacteria, food particles, and dead cells from your tongue. It's a practice originating from the ancient Indian health system- Ayurveda.

In Ayurveda, tongue scraping, known as 'Jihwa Prakshalana,' is considered essential for daily health routines. It's believed to remove toxins, aiding digestion and promoting overall wellness.

Today, tongue scraping is gaining popularity in Western cultures, with more dentists recommending it as part of a complete oral care routine.

Using a small tool made of plastic or metal, gently scrape the surface of your tongue to remove buildup. This helps freshen your breath and promote better oral hygiene.

While tongue scraping doesn't replace brushing your teeth, it's a simple and effective addition to your oral care regimen. Stick around to learn more about its benefits and how to get started.

Benefits of Tongue Scraping

Benefits of Tongue Scraping

The top benefits of incorporating tongue scraping into your daily routine-

Removes Bacteria: Your tongue is a breeding ground for bacteria, but tongue scraping can help eliminate up to 79% more bacteria than brushing alone. By removing harmful bacteria like Mutans streptococci and Lactobacilli, tongue scraping reduces the risk of bad breath and dental decay.

Better Sense of Taste: Research suggests that using a tongue scraper twice a day can improve your sense of taste. By clearing away debris that can block your taste buds, tongue scraping allows you to better distinguish between different tastes like bitter, sweet, salty, and sour.

Activates Organs: Tongue scraping isn't just beneficial for your mouth; it can also have a positive impact on your internal organs. By removing toxins accumulated on your tongue overnight, tongue scraping promotes overall well-being.

Removes Excess Debris: Have you ever noticed a white, coated appearance on your tongue? This buildup of excess debris can be unsightly and contribute to bad breath. Daily tongue scraping helps remove this coating, keeping your tongue clean and healthy.

Better Digestion: The process of digestion begins in your mouth, and tongue scraping can help improve it. By activating enzymes in your saliva, tongue scraping aids in breaking down food more efficiently, leading to better digestion and nutrient absorption.

Reduces Bad Breath: Tongue scraping removes the bacteria responsible for bad breath, leaving your mouth feeling fresh and clean. Using a tongue scraper twice a day can significantly reduce malodorous sulfur compounds and keep bad breath at bay.

Boosts Overall Health: Your oral health is closely linked to your overall health, and tongue scraping plays a crucial role in maintaining both. By removing harmful bacteria and toxins from your tongue, tongue scraping helps prevent cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues, ultimately improving your immunity and promoting better overall health.

How to perform tongue scraping?

How to perform tongue scraping

Here’s the step-by-step process of how to perform tongue scraping properly

Choosing the Right Tool: The first step in tongue scraping is selecting the right tool for the job. Tongue scrapers come in various materials like plastic, copper, or stainless steel. While plastic scrapers are convenient and inexpensive, stainless steel or copper scrapers offer durability, efficiency, and ease of cleaning.

Benefits of PUREXA Bamboo Tongue Cleaner

Purexa Bamboo Tongue Cleaner comes with a 3-layered wax coating, is 100% biodegradable, and is completely safe for your taste buds. It helps in reducing odour-causing bacteria and is safe for daily use.

Size and Shape Considerations: Tongue scrapers come in different sizes and shapes, so choose one that feels comfortable and fits your tongue well. This ensures that you can perform tongue scraping effectively without any discomfort.

Frequency and Timing: Aim to incorporate tongue scraping into your daily oral care routine, ideally performed once or twice a day. It's best to scrape your tongue in the morning and evening, after brushing and flossing but before using mouthwash.

Technique and Pressure: To perform tongue scraping, stand in front of a mirror, open your mouth, and stick out your tongue. Gently place the rounded end of the tongue scraper at the back of your tongue. If you're concerned about triggering your gag reflex, start scraping from the middle of your tongue and gradually move farther back as you become more comfortable.

Gentle Yet Firm Motion: With the scraper in place, gently pull it forward toward the tip of your tongue. Be firm yet gentle to avoid causing any discomfort or irritation. Remember to always move the scraper from the back of your tongue to the tip and never in the opposite direction.

Rinse and Repeat: After each scrape, use a washcloth or tissue to wipe off any debris from the scraper. Repeat this process until you've covered the entire surface of your tongue, making one or two scrapes in each area.

Cleaning and Care: Once you've completed tongue scraping, wash the scraper with warm water and soap to remove any remaining bacteria or debris. Ensure it's thoroughly dried before storing it in a clean, dry area to prevent bacterial growth.

Side Effects of Tongue Scraping

Side Effects of Tongue Scraping

While tongue scraping is generally safe and beneficial for oral health, it's essential to be aware of potential side effects and risks associated with this practice. 

Gag Reflex Sensitivity: One common concern with tongue scraping is triggering the gag reflex, which may lead to discomfort or even vomiting. To avoid this, it's crucial not to place the scraper too far back on your tongue. Start in the middle or wherever feels most comfortable, gradually moving farther back as you become accustomed to the sensation.

Risk of Injury: There's a possibility of accidentally cutting the surface of your tongue with the scraper, especially if it has rough or uneven edges. To prevent injury, inspect your tongue scraper before each use to ensure it's smooth and safe. Be mindful of the pressure you apply, aiming to be gentle enough to avoid harming your taste buds or breaking the skin.

Hygiene Concerns: Proper hygiene is essential when using a tongue scraper to prevent infection or irritation. Always ensure your tongue scraper is clean before and after each use. Thoroughly wash it with soap and warm water, and store it in a clean, dry area to prevent bacterial growth.

Discomfort or Pain: If you experience any discomfort, or pain, or notice bleeding during tongue scraping, it's essential to stop immediately and consult a dental professional. These symptoms may indicate sensitivity or an underlying issue that requires attention.

Health Conditions: Individuals with certain health conditions, such as abnormal heart valves or pacemakers, should exercise caution when using a tongue scraper. Some studies suggest a potential link between tongue scraping and a higher risk of endocarditis, an infection of the heart's inner lining. It's crucial to discuss tongue scraping with your healthcare provider before incorporating it into your oral hygiene routine.

Sensitivity and Pain: In some cases, tongue scraping may exacerbate sensitivity or cause pain. If you experience discomfort while tongue scraping, it's advisable to discontinue the practice and consult a dentist to decide on the best oral hygiene approach for your needs.

Also Read - 
Why Maintaining Oral Hygiene Is Essential?
How To Keep Teeth Clean With Braces 

Bottom Line

Tongue scraping is a valuable addition to your daily oral hygiene routine, offering numerous benefits for oral health. By removing bacteria, improving taste sensation, and promoting overall cleanliness, tongue scraping contributes to fresher breath and improved oral well-being. While there are potential risks to consider, such as triggering the gag reflex or causing injury, practicing proper technique and hygiene can help mitigate these concerns. Follow a regimen that is exclusive to your needs and keep flexing your healthy, beautiful smile!


Written by Dr. Shipra Jaiswal, BDS, MDS, a Periodontist and Gums Specialist

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