Home Health & Wellness 7 Things You Should Know About Tongue Scraping

7 Things You Should Know About Tongue Scraping

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In the vast landscape of oral hygiene, one practice often debated is tongue scraping. Is it truly beneficial? Should it be a universal practice? As someone deeply immersed in the realm of oral health, I constantly find myself navigating through the diverging opinions and concerns encircling this age-old technique.

Oral hygiene is just as important as it is for any healthcare professional to wear a scrub cap in the OR.

As a seasoned dental hygienist with over 14 years of experience in the dental field, I would like to discuss this often-debated topic and shed light on what truly matters in the realm of oral health.

Is tongue scraping recommended for oral health? Should everyone be doing it?

Tongue scraping comes highly recommended by many dental professionals for improving oral health. This practice involves using a small tool called a tongue scraper to gently remove bacteria, food debris, and dead cells from the tongue’s surface.

Reasons why tongue scraping can be beneficial

  • Reduces bacteria. The tongue’s surface can harbor bacteria contributing to bad breath (halitosis) and plaque formation. Scraping helps remove these bacteria, thus reducing the risk of oral health issues.
  • Improves breath. By eliminating bacteria and food particles from the tongue, scraping can freshen breath and minimize bad breath occurrences.
  • Enhances taste. A clean tongue allows taste buds to function more effectively, potentially enhancing the sense of taste.

How often do you need to tongue scrape for it to be effective?

The frequency of tongue scraping varies depending on individual needs and preferences. However, for most people, scraping or brushing the tongue twice a day as part of their oral hygiene routine is generally recommended.

While daily scraping is safe and effective, excessive scraping or applying too much pressure can potentially cause tongue irritation or damage. It’s crucial to be gentle and use a light touch when scraping to avoid discomfort or injury.

How does a tongue scraper work and how do you use one?

Using a tongue scraper is a straightforward process:

  • Hold the tongue scraper. Grip the tongue scraper comfortably.
  • Position the tongue scraper. Extend your tongue and place the rounded edge of the scraper at the back of your tongue.
  • Scrape forward. With gentle pressure, drag the tongue scraper forward along the tongue’s surface towards the tip.
  • Repeat. Rinse the scraper after each scrape and repeat the process several times for thorough cleaning.
  • Clean the tongue scraper. Rinse it thoroughly under running water after use.

Things to be cautious of when tongue scraping

  • Gag reflex. Some individuals may have a sensitive gag reflex. Start gently and gradually work towards the back of the tongue.
  • Pressure. Avoid applying too much pressure to prevent tongue irritation or injury.
  • Frequency. Stick to a moderate scraping routine to avoid disrupting the tongue’s natural balance.

Is tongue scraping a new concept?

Tongue scraping is not a new concept; it has been practiced for centuries in various cultures worldwide. In recent years, it has gained popularity in Western cultures due to its recognised benefits for oral health.

Recommended practices for general oral health

In addition to tongue scraping, maintaining good oral health involves:

  • Regular brushing and flossing
  • Routine dental check-ups
  • Following a healthy diet
  • Limiting acidic and staining foods
  • Staying hydrated
  • Avoiding tobacco products
  • Using mouthwash

By incorporating these practices into daily routines, individuals can optimise their oral health and prevent common dental problems.


Tongue scraping is a valuable addition to oral hygiene routines, offering benefits such as reduced bacteria, improved breath, and enhanced taste sensation. But  it’s essential to practice tongue scraping with moderation and mindfulness to avoid potential pitfalls. By embracing both tradition and innovation in oral care, individuals can achieve optimal oral health and overall well-being.

Lauren DeAngelo, CRDH is a seasoned dental hygienist with 14 years of experience and an associate in science degree in dental hygiene. In 2020, amid the Covid pandemic, Lauren started her own business, SunshineCapsCo, where she specialises in fashionable scrub caps for medical professionals. You can expect concise yet insightful writings from Lauren, blending clinical expertise with entrepreneurial wisdom.

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