Did You Know?In the 19th century, custom-made tongue cleaners made of materials such as silver, ivory, and tortoise shell were obtainable.
A tongue cleaner is an oral hygiene tool designed to get rid of the bacteria, food debris, and dead cells from the surface of the tongue. The food debris present on the tongue leads to buildup of bacteria and fungi, which are related to many common oral and general health problems. Clinical studies show that the dead and decaying bacteria also produce volatile sulfur compounds, which are mainly responsible for halitosis (bad breath). Many other such studies have established a link between the oral bacterial proliferation and many systemic problems such as cardiovascular problems, increased risk of diabetes, osteoporosis of the jaw, and in some cases, infertility problems in men.
To evade such problems, the use of a tongue cleaner is an easy and inexpensive option. Using it faithfully every day can result in reduced plaque and better smelling breath. The tongue surface can be cleaned by the use of either a tongue brush or a tongue scraper. One can also just use their toothbrush for this purpose. They are commercially available in a variety of shapes and sizes so that one may choose the tool that best fits an individual's need.
There are two types: tongue brushes and tongue scrapers. Tongue brushes are good for loosening food particles and bacteria that may be stuck between the taste buds that cover the tongue surface. A toothbrush can also be used as a tongue brush; however, toothbrushes with soft bristles are more efficient than those with hard bristles. Tongue scrapers are efficient at scraping and gathering the food particles and bacteria from the tongue surface and removing them. They can be made of plastic, unalloyed copper, or stainless steel.
Tongue brush or scraper?While both work effectively, the choice between the two depends on your gag reflex. If you have a tendency to gag, choose a scraper, as its flat nature induces less gag reflex when cleaning the back of your tongue. However, if you want to buy a brush, select a flat model. Most people buy a scraper as the toothbrush can be used for brushing the tongue. Also in case of tongue brushes, they must be used with a toothpaste consisting of an antibacterial agent.
Which size?Once you have decided the type of cleaner you want to buy, you must determine the size you require. They are available in a range of sizes. To purchase the right-sized cleaner, check your tongue in the mirror to assess the size. A wide-angled, bigger scraper is ideal for adults, and smaller scrapers can be used in case of children.
Which material?Tongue brushes are all made of plastic, but some have soft bristles, while others have rigid bristles. The soft bristled brushes should be preferred. Scrapers come in a variety of different materials such as plastic, unalloyed copper, and stainless steel. One should pick a material that is easy to clean and sterilize. Plastic scrapers should be replaced routinely, while copper and stainless steel scrapers can be used repeatedly with regular intermittent sterilizations, viz., boiling water or antibacterial solutions. In case of a sensitive tongue, plastic scrapers should be preferred as they are gentler.
Get a Second OpinionConsult your doctor on what type of cleaner they recommend. Inquire about the type of tongue you have (geographical, hairy, or coated) and which tool would best suit your needs.
Check Product ReviewsRead online reviews for tongue brushes or cleaners to determine the pros and cons of all the products in the market. This will help determine the best product according to your needs.
Improves Oral and Dental HealthThe bacteria present on the tongue may grow and spread to the rest of the mouth. This may lead to gum infections, cavities, and many other such problems. If the bacteria spreads to the throat, it may cause throat infections. Tongue cleaning prevents the buildup of bacteria and prevents the possibility of infections.
Improves Oral OdorThe bacteria on the tongue act on the food particles adhering to the tongue surface and break them down. The breakdown of food results in the release of bad odors. If the tongue is cleaned regularly, the food particles are removed before they break down, thus, preventing bad breath.
Improves Your Sense of TasteWhen the tongue is cleaned, you get rid of all the dirt and bacteria surrounding your taste buds. The taste buds can now function effectively in tasting the food you eat.
Prevents Re-absorption of ToxinsThe body tries to eliminate absorbed toxins by pushing them out of the system. The mucus layer that forms on the tongue comprises the toxins released by the body and by the bacterial activity on the tongue. If that layer is not cleaned out, the toxins are reabsorbed by the body, leading to grave health problems.
Stimulates Your OrgansThe nerve endings in the tongue work as acupressure points, so scraping/brushing it will help stimulate the internal organs.
Purchase your tongue cleaner after taking into account your needs, the doctor's recommendation, and online reviews. Try it out for some time and if it doesn't work for you, try a different model or one produced by a different brand.