How to Clean Your Tongue

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A person using a toothbrush to clean their tounge with the title "How to Clean Your Tongue."

Bad breath is something I absolutely hate! I’m like one of those girls you see in the movies, the ones who rush out of bed in the morning to brush their teeth before their man wakes up so that they greet him with fresh breath. No, it’s not something I do to be prissy, but I just hate morning breath.

If there was one problem I could get rid of, it would be bad breath. I hate talking to someone and feeling like I have to take a few steps back just to get out of the range of their halitosis-laden exhalations.

The other day, I was brushing my teeth, and I noticed that my tongue was covered in a thick layer of white gunk. Upon closer examination in the mirror, I saw little fissues and cracks in my tongue. Catching a whiff of my breath was horrible, even after I finished brushing. So what’s going on?

Geographic Tongue

What an awesome name for a disgusting problem, right?

Geographic tongue is the name given to a tongue that has lots of little cracks and fissures in it, sort of like how the surface of the earth has those same cracks. Within the cracks of your tongue live all kinds of bacteria and germs, and they multiply because they are never brushed or rinsed away.

When bacteria live in those tiny cracks in your tongue, they are able to take root, grow, and spread to the rest of your tongue. If they take over your tongue, they can move onto your teeth, gums, and throat, which could lead to full-on halitosis!

Thankfully, tongue scraping is a great way to get rid of the white stuff on your tongue, and it can help to deal with your bad breath as well as the bacteria!

Why You Need a Tongue Scraper

Close-up of a smiling woman cleaning her tongue with a scraper.

The idea of scraping your tongue using a tongue scraper or tongue cleaner is probably odd, but the truth is that it’s one of the best ways to keep your mouth clean. Here are five reasons you NEED to scrape your tongue on a daily basis:

1. Improves Dental Health

Wow, who knew that scraping your tongue could have an effect on the health of your teeth?

When your tongue is filled with bacteria, that bacteria is likely to spread to the rest of your mouth. It may cause gum infections, or it could get into the cracks between your teeth and gums and cause cavities and other problems.

The bacteria may spread to your throat and cause throat infections, or it may even be passed through the rest of the respiratory system.

Essentially, cleaning your tongue with a tongue scraper is one of the best ways to keep your ENTIRE mouth healthy. You want to get rid of bacteria in all of its forms, including the bacteria living on your tongue.

2. Deal with Bad Breath

Did you know that bad breath (halitosis) is actually the smell released by decaying food cells?

Eating food coats the interior of your mouth with tiny particles, which are usually washed away by saliva. However, if there is bacteria living inside your mouth, that bacteria starts to eat away at the food.

The breakdown of those food cells causes a natural chemical reaction, as the oxidative process releases a horrible smell. Millions of food cells decaying and being broken down release the bad smell that you know as bad breath.

Scraping your tongue will help to get rid of not just the food cells stuck in the cracks, but it can also scrape away the bacteria living within those cracks. You’ll find that the bad smells are GONE thanks to your tongue brushing or scraping!

3. Heighten Your Sense of Taste

Did you know that the white film on your tongue reduces your sense of taste?

When your tongue is covered with that nasty white stuff, your taste buds never really get a chance to savor the food that you eat. The thick white caking prevents your taste buds from coming in contact with the more delicate nutrients that flavor the food, so you only get the general taste of the food you eat.

However, when you scrape your tongue, you get rid of anything interfering with your taste buds and their healthy function. A clean tongue has a very good sense of taste, and you’ll be much more easily able to enjoy the food you eat once you can taste it.

4. Prevent Toxin Reabsorption

You don’t want to swallow toxins that your body is trying to excrete, do you?

When you sleep, your body tries to get rid of all the chemicals and toxins floating around in your system. A lot of the white film that covers your tongue is the toxins that your body is trying to get rid of, so swallowing that gunk in the morning will just send all of those toxins right back into your body.

In order to avoid reabsorbing the toxins your body wants to eliminate, take the time to scrape your tongue clean in the morning. All the gunky toxins and chemicals will be eliminated along with the dried saliva and bacteria on your tongue, and you won’t have to worry about those toxins going back into your body.

5. Stimulate Your Organs

Cleaning your tongue will help you to stimulate your organs.

You know how massaging the bottom of your feet can stimulate the various organs, glands, and systems in your body? The same is true of the nerve endings in your tongue, so scraping it will help to stimulate your body’s internal organs.

For example, scraping the tip of your tongue will stimulate your heart, while scraping the sides will stimulate your spleen, gall bladder, and liver. It’s almost like acupressure, but for your tongue!

Did You Know: People who drink coffee and tea tend to have chronic bad breath. The caffeine particles coat the inside of your mouth, which is why you usually have a yellowed tongue and yellow teeth after drinking caffeine-rich beverages.

Here are some amazing ingredients for cleaning your tongue!

How to Clean Your Tongue with A Tongue Scraper

The good news is that using a tongue scraper is incredibly easy, and you’ll be able to get your tongue clean in just a few minutes every morning.

Before we get into tongue scraping, a bit of history…

Tongue scraping dates back thousands of years to Ayurvedic medicine in Ancient India. Cleaning the tongue is one of the ways to get rid of the ama (toxins) in your body, and it helps to promote detoxification of your body. It eliminates the toxins your body has secreted, and which have collected on your tongue. Basically, it promotes a healthier you!

Now, here are some things to keep in mind when scraping your tongue:

  • You don’t need to do it so hard. You don’t need to scrape your tongue so hard that it starts to bleed, but go gentle on your tongue. Pressing harder won’t get rid of MORE bacteria, and it won’t shorten the amount of time you need to spend cleaning. Just apply enough pressure that the scraper is clearing off the top layer of gunk from your tongue.
  • It’s not going to be the ONLY cure for bad breath. While having a dirty, white film-covered tongue can lead to bad breath, it’s not the only thing that could be causing your halitosis. If you are worried about bad breath, eat bad breath-fighting foods, brush and floss your teeth regularly, and look into what else is behind the problem. Scraping your tongue is just one solution.
  • Keep the scraper simple. There are a lot of fancy tongue scrapers sold online, but they are often unnecessarily complex. All you need is a simple tongue scraper, which should be fairly cheap. Electronic tongue scrapers can make your life easier, but they tend to cost more.
  • Do it in the morning. Immediately after you wake up, your tongue is covered in the white film of toxins, so that’s when you need to scrape your tongue. First thing in the morning is the best time for this oral hygiene project!

Simple, practical tips, right? Now, here are the simple steps to scraping your tongue in the morning:

Step 1: Swish Warm Water in Your Mouth

This can help to loosen up the film on your tongue, making it easier to remove. Just make sure to spit the water, as swallowing it will send those toxins right back down your throat.

Step 2: Clean the Top Layer

With the scraper completely dry, start scraping off the top layer of gunk or film coating your tongue. Start from the base of your tongue, as far back as you can go without gagging. With slow, sweeping strokes, scrape your tongue from back to front. Work from left to right, and make sure to scrape your tongue completely.

Step 3: Apply Toothpaste

A good oxygenating toothpaste will help to speed up the cleaning, so squirt a bit of it onto the head of your cleaner.

Step 4: Clean Again

Coat the surface of your tongue with the toothpaste, and let it sit for 90 seconds. Try to avoid swallowing it, but just hold it in your mouth. Once 90 seconds have passed, scrape the gunk and toothpaste from your tongue with the same smooth strokes until your tongue is clean.

Truth be told, it’s a pretty simple process to scrape your tongue properly, but what are you using to get the job done?

Great Tongue Scraping Products

Looking for some good tongue-scrapers? Here are a few you can buy straight from Amazon to make your life a lot easier:

Dr. Tung’s Tongue Cleaner

Made from stainless steel, this tongue scraper is designed to be very easy to use. The curved edge of the scraper helps you clean your tongue much more quickly than small plastic scrapers, and you’ll find that it’s much easier to get the gunk off your tongue with this simple cleaner. Plus, the stainless steel is bacteria-resistant, and it’s gentler on the tongue than plastic!

Pureline Tongue Scraper

For a simple, straightforward product, this is the tongue scraper for you. Made from FDA-approved, biocompatible plastic, the scraper makes it easy to get the gunk from your tongue with just a few strokes every morning. Cheap, disposable, and easy to replace!

GUM Tongue Cleaner

Want to clean your tongue AND freshen your breath at the same time? The minty coating on the tongue scraper will help to kill off the bacteria in your mouth, but it will also leave your breath much more pleasant as well. With both bristles for brushing and a scraper, the cleaner is designed for maximum effectiveness. Plus, it’s super affordable!

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