“Tongue scraping is a fast way to remove extra particles on the tongue—including ones that cause bad breath," says Dr. Kantor, who practices at Lowenberg, Lituchy and Kantor. "It is done with a small, slightly rounded tool made from plastic or metal. It can't replace brushing, but should be done in addition to brushing, flossing, and rinsing.”
Living Libations Tongue Cleaning Scraper, $4.08
Tongue scraping has been practiced around the world for centuries and has become more recently popular as an Ayurvedic practice. This tongue scraper from Living Libations works to remove everything from remove dead skin cells and food particles to fungus and bacteria from the surface of the tongue. Bonus—it's made from copper, making it a super pretty addition to your bathroom.
“The main reason tongue scraping is useful is that it rids bacteria and other debris from your tongue," says Dr. Kantor. "This bacteria that tongue scraping removes can cause decay and bad breath. The tongue has a large surface area, and it is easy for debris to get stuck on it. Rinsing helps, but using a tongue scraper is very beneficial."
This is even more important now, since we spending so much time with masks on, trapped with the smell of our own breath. Dr. Kantor adds that tongue scraping can make your tongue both function and look better.
"Tongue scraping can also improve your sense of taste," says Dr. Kantor. "Your tongue may be able to [better] distinguish between bitter, sweet, salty, and sour sensations by scraping the debris off of the taste buds, which are on the tongue. Tongue scraping can also improve the appearance of your tongue. Debris can cause a white or coated appearance on the tongue, which scraping can improve.”
When scraping your tongue, start at the back of your tongue (but not too far back—"One of the biggest concerns about tongue scraping is the gag reflex," says Dr. Kantor. "To avoid this, refrain from placing the scraper too far back on your tongue.") Apply gentle pressure and pull forward. If it hurts you're pushing too hard. For super minty fresh breath, scrape your tongue after you brush and before you rinse so there's still toothpaste on your tongue. And be sure to wash your tongue scraper regularly.
For improved taste sensation, better breath, and a healthier mouth, Dr. Kantor says you should aim to scrape your tongue every morning.
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