Your oral health and overall health share a direct connection. Like the other parts of your body, your mouth is full of mostly harmless bacteria. However, since bacteria enter into your digestive and respiratory tracts through your mouth, some of the bacteria in your mouth can give birth to diseases in your body. Without proper oral health care, the bacteria can find their way to places that can lead to oral infections like tooth decay and gum diseases. However, certain oral hygiene habits such as brushing your teeth regularly, flossing and tongue scraping can keep your oral health in check.
Health Shots reached out to touch with Dr Sujit Chatterjee of Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital, Powai, Mumbai, to understand everything about tongue scraping for good oral health.
What is tongue scraping?
Tongue scraping is a technique of cleaning the surface of your tongue with the help of a tongue scraper or cleaner. It aims to remove bacteria, debris, dead cells, and food particles that accumulate on the tongue. A tongue scraper is a soft, flexible tool, usually U-shaped, made of plastic or metal.
How to use a tongue scraper?
Just like there is a right way to brush your teeth, you need to get your basics right about tongue scraping too. According to Dr Chatterjee, there are things about tongue scraping that you should be mindful of. That includes knowing how to use a tongue scraper in the correct way.
The right way to scrape your tongue, as per the expert, is to extend your tongue and gently place the scraper at the back of the tongue.
“Lightly press the scraper against the tongue’s surface and drag it forward towards the tip of your tongue,” suggests the expert.
Repeat the scraping motion 3-5 times, covering the entire tongue’s surface.
Rinse your mouth and tongue scraper with water after each scarping.
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Tongue scraping is recommended as a daily practise, preferably in the morning after brushing your teeth.
Tongue scraping complements regular brushing and flossing, and enhances overall oral hygiene.
Keep the tongue scraper clean and dry after each use to prevent bacterial growth.
If you feel any discomfort or irritation, or if any bleeding occurs, stop tongue scraping, and seek professional advice.
Benefits of tongue scraping for oral hygiene
To keep up with oral hygiene, we have to follow other practises apart from simple brushing. Let us tell you some of the benefits of tongue scraping.
1. Tongue scraping effectively removes harmful bacteria
Tongue scraping is important for oral hygiene due to its ability to effectively remove harmful bacteria, dead cells and food particles that accumulate on the surface of the tongue. These deposits can cause discoloration of the tongue or can also turn it yellow which is known as “tongue paste”. If left unattended, this coating can harbour harmful bacteria, contributing to bad breath (halitosis) and potentially causing oral health problems, says the expert.
2. Tongue scraping can enhance sense of taste
According to research, scraping your tongue twice a day can better your sense of taste. Your tongue would be able to differentiate between bitter, sour, salty, and sweet sensations.
3. Your tongue looks so much better
Accumulation of excess debris on the tongue can cause it to look white or yellow in appearance. Regular scraping can prevent this bacteria build-up.
4. Improves overall health
By getting rid of your oral bacteria, you can prevent cavities, gum diseases and other health conditions that can take birth in your mouth.
5. Curbs bad breath
Even though tongue scraping can’t replace the boons of regular brushing, scraping can be more effective than brushing when it comes to eradicating odour-causing bacteria.