In addition to using a toothbrush to clean your teeth, you can improve your mouth's health by using a tongue cleaner. Millions of bacteria collect on your tongue each day, and simply brushing your teeth doesn't remove those bacteria. Tongue bacteria produce volatile sulphur compounds, which can cause bad breath. The bacteria may also have the potential to cause other health issues.
You have four choices for cleaning your tongue; these are:
- Using a tongue scraper
- Brushing your tongue with your regular toothbrush
- Using a toothbrush with a tongue brush on the side opposite the nylon toothbrush bristles
A tongue scraper is the traditional method for cleaning the tongue. Today, you can buy scrapers made from plastic or metal. Simply place the edge of the tool on the back of your tongue and gently pull the scraper forward.
Some people use a regular toothbrush to clean the tongue. The disadvantage of using a regular toothbrush on the tongue is that the bristles are designed to clean the smooth surfaces of your teeth. Your tongue is a rough surface with many tiny crevices, and regular toothbrush bristles may not do a thorough cleaning job.
Your third choice for tongue cleaning is a toothbrush that has a tongue brush on the side opposite the nylon toothbrush bristles. This is a less time-consuming option because you can brush your teeth and gums first and then flip the toothbrush over to brush your tongue effectively and remove the bacteria that reside there.
Cleaning the tongue can help reduce the bacteria that reside on it and help to freshen your breath and keep your mouth healthier.
Using your tongue cleaner
You can clean your tongue either before or after you brush your teeth; no studies support a particular cleaning order. Your tongue is sensitive, so it's important to be gentle and not to press the cleaner too forcefully onto your tongue.
Here are a few more general cleaning tips:
- Rinse your tongue cleaner before and after using it to remove bacteria and food debris that may be present.
- Start cleaning at the back of your tongue and work your way forward.
- Scrape and clean the entire top and side surfaces of your tongue, not just the centre.
A note on the tongue brush: if you use a tongue brush, move it the same way you moved the tongue cleaner, from the back of the tongue to the front. You may have to use this method a few times in order to adequately clean your entire tongue. Rinse the tongue brush off after you use it to remove bacteria and any food debris from the areas of the tongue you cleaned. Lastly, rinse your mouth after cleaning your tongue.
The cleanest tongue around
Cleaning your tongue may be a new venture for you. Try these different methods to find the one that works best for you. Tongue cleaners are inexpensive and improve oral hygiene while helping to prevent bad breath. Using one will give your mouth a cleaner and fresher feeling.