Scraping Your Way to a Healthier Mouth: The Benefits of Tongue Scraping
Want to reduce bad breath, gum problems and tooth decay? Grab a tongue scraper! While the practice of removing food and bacteria trapped between your taste buds has been recognized and recommended by dentists for half a century, true tongue scraping is a relatively new phenomenon. Perhaps its sharp increase in popularity is the result of recent studies touting about all the wonderful things that come from removing all that "gunk," including healthier teeth and gums and sweeter smelling breath.
Tongue scraping is an easy way to improve your oral health. People with bad breath, particularly smokers or those with a taste for pungent food, will notice an improvement. Also, those who suffer from a fungal condition called "Brown Hairy Tongue" will benefit tremendously from a good tongue cleaning. For those with sweet smelling, fungus-free mouths, know that tongue scraping will reduce the bacteria that leads to gum disease and tooth decay. In other words, just about anybody will be better off for the effort. So, how does it work?
A bit of research will tell you that there are dozens of tongue scraping appliances on the market today. One of the most popular and inexpensive types is a soft, flexible plastic strip that you bow and pull along your tongue. It's an incredibly simple design with the potential for amazing results. Two or three strokes are usually sufficient. Please note, scraping should be done before brushing your teeth. It's quick and easy; the most difficult part of the entire process is actually seeing what's been in your mouth.
If you're not interested in actually buying a tongue scraper, a toothbrush will work fairly well. Though they aren't nearly as effective in removing debris and bacteria from your mouth as tools made for the job, it's far better than doing nothing at all. If you'd like to learn more about tongue scraping, or would like help finding the right method for you, contact your dentist's office, or mention it during your next check-up!
DR. GARY SIGAFOOS