Tongue Cleaners

Tongue Cleaners and Tongue Brushes

The different types of tongue cleaners, why and how to use them

Tongue scrapers and cleaners have been used since ancient times in China and India. Although many different styles of tongue scrapers and tongue brushes have been developed, the main purpose of a tongue cleaner has remained the same, to remove the bacteria, dead cells, and food particles that the tongue collects.

The surface of the tongue is covered with papillae and taste buds, which provide an excellent breeding ground for bacteria. Not only does this bacteria cause bad breath, but the bacteria will spread to other areas of the mouth such as the teeth and gums if the tongue is not cleansed of these bacteria. This can cause dental problems including tooth decay, gum infections, and gum recession.

Recently dentists and hygienists have carried out studies that shows regular cleaning of the tongue is improves dental health and drastically reduces bad breath.

Why use a tongue cleaner?

Tongue bacteria is the main source of bad breath.

Do you have a white tongue or have you ever looked at your tongue and seen white film on your tongue? This white stuff is actually bacteria build up, food particles, dead cells, and even fungi. These decaying bacteria produce volatile sulphur compounds, which cause the bad odor in bad breath. Due to this it is very important that you regularly cleanse your tongue of these odor producing bacteria and also of the particles of food or dead cells that will act as fuel for the bacteria.

According to scientists of dental research "tongue bacteria account for 80 to 90 percent of all cases of halitosis(bad breath)". In the remaining 10 to 20% of cases the bad breath originated form the tonsils, stomach, decaying food stuck in between the teeth, tooth decay, or plaque build-up on the teeth. If it is even remotely accurate that 80-90% of bad breath originates from bacteria on the tongue then you better be cleaning and sanitizing your tongue of these bacteria if you want to get rid of bad breath.

Here at BreathMD we believe that using a tongue scraper and cleaning your tongue is the quickest, most effective, and easiest way to reduce halitosis. Many people do not own tongue scrapers and the only cleaning they get is by a mouthwash which is not very effective at removing tongue bacteria or particles. Clinical studies have shown that daily usage or tongue cleaners have a significant effect on removing bacteria and reducing foul odors from ones mouth.

Types of tongue cleaners

Essentially there are two types of tongue cleaners. Tongue brushes and tongue scrapers. Tongue brushes are effective at loosening particles and bacteria that may be lodged or stuck between the papillae and taste buds that cover the surface of the tongue. Tongue scrapers are more effective at gathering bacteria and particles from the tongue and removing them from the mouth.

A toothbrush may be used as a tongue brush. We find that toothbrushes with soft bristles work better then toothbrushes with thick rigid bristles.

Tongue scraper Tongue Brush

Tongue Scraper

Tongue Brush

There are some tongue cleaners that incorporate a scraper and a brush such as the Orabrush. While those brush and scraper combos are convenient, I find them to do a poor job at scraping or brushing. The saying "jack of all trades, master of none" applies to these.

When purchasing tongue cleaners, it may be a good idea to buy a couple (because they are so cheap) of different styles and see what works best for you.

BreathMD's favorites: After trying many tongue brushes and scrapers, We personally have settled on the "Tongue Cleaner" as a tongue scraper and Dr. Collins Perio Toothbrush or another toothbrush with the new ultra-fine tapered style bristles as a tongue brush.

How to use a tongue brush or tongue scraper

First of all there are various tongue brushes and tongue scrapers and you should follow the instructions that come with it.

For tongue brushes you want to use gentle back and forth strokes on the surface of the tongue, remember to go as far back as you can. After you feel you have done a thorough job swish some water in your mouth for 10 seconds and spit it out to remove all the tongue bacteria and material that was loosened from the brushing. For additional cleaning you can now use a tongue scraper to even better remove the loosened material. If you use a tongue scraper and tongue brush, remember to brush your tongue first, then scrape.

Generally for tongue scrapers you start at the back of the tongue and scrape all the white gunk forward. Rinse your tongue scraper of the stuff it collects several times while cleaning your tongue. Continue use gentle strokes to scrape your tongue until it starts to collect little or no white material.

Here are some general tips to insure that you use a tongue cleaner effectively.

Do you clean your tongue before or after brushing your teeth?

Do you think it's better to use a tongue scraper before or after brushing your teeth?


[ Results ]

That is a good question, unfortunately few studies have determined in what order is most effective. So once again you should try both and test it out for yourself. I personally like to clean my tongue first before brushing my teeth but that is just my personal preference. To the right is a poll asking whether you do it before or after. Feel free to see the results or vote for yourself.

The tongue needs to be cleaned, don't neglect it in your oral care regimen. Let us know what tongue scrapers you like, questions, or tips in the comments below. Thanks!

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Comments (10)
Pages | 1

My favorite is TUNG Brush and TUNG Gel. Comfortable and Effective!

by Sally on May 5, 2017 | 11:29 AM

I brush after drinking tea, coffee and oral sex. Then use my tongue scraper to remove any build up on my tongue.

by Heather on Mar 29, 2017 | 1:50 PM

I personally have used a lot of different tongue cleaners but the best one by far is from Pureline Oralcare.

by Guest on Nov 28, 2015 | 3:03 AM

Can I clean my tongue before and after brushing both???

by sauruv on Jun 2, 2015 | 12:53 AM

Just ordered my Ora brush for me and my old man hopefully it does something lol I brush my teeth frequent times a day I just have to spend my money somehow :)

by Robby on May 19, 2015 | 6:13 PM

I use a tongue scraper with toothpaste usually about 6 times a day because my of my bad breath...

by Jill on Oct 15, 2014 | 12:58 AM

I keep my tooth brush in salt solution once in a few days to get rid of the bacteria. I clean my tongue regularly with tongue cleaner after brushing my teeth.

by P.Surya Rao on Oct 15, 2014 | 12:58 AM

Scald toothbrushes with hot water to keep germs at bay from getting sick scold the toothbrush with hot water for a good 5 10 seconds it should help soak your toothbrush in cleaning solution too.. Better to be safe than sick

by Guest on Oct 15, 2014 | 12:57 AM

I have the tung brush get it at Walmart works well but just don't brush too hard on your tongue.. Works better with mouthwash also..

by Rose on Oct 15, 2014 | 12:57 AM

I personally do not like the Orabrush either. Not effective.

by Tom on Oct 15, 2014 | 12:56 AM
Pages | 1
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