The tongue not only helps us mash and chew food, it’s also responsible for letting us experience the soothing bitter of black coffee, the tart snap of sour apple, and the deep richness of perfectly cooked steak — it’s time we start showing it the love it deserves come cleaning time.
For centuries, we humans have been brushing and flossing our way to better breath to avoid the sudden stank-face and awkward conversations associated with halitosis. You may think you’re doing plenty by brushing the surface of your tongue when you brush your teeth, but to properly pamper this little muscle, you need to amp up your arsenal with a tool that Eastern cultures have been embracing as part of effective oral hygiene since ancient times: the tongue scraper. Here are five reasons why you should be scraping your tongue every day:
It’s Better Than Bristles
Halitosis is typically caused by bacteria that congregate to feast on the bounty of postnasal drip that regularly collects at the back of your tongue. As they chow down, the bacteria leave behind a cocktail of compounds that produce that familiar, face-twisting bad breath bite. To build a proper defense against these compounds, you need the right tool. While a toothbrush is perfectly designed to bend and scrub around the hard surfaces of your teeth, its soft bristles just don’t cut it on the textured, flexible surface of the tongue. The sturdiness of a scraper means it can easily dislodge bacteria and debris from the tiny bumps and valleys on your tongue, and recent studies have shown that this simple tool swap can result in up to a 30 percent decrease in the production of compounds that cause bad breath.
It Gets Rid of Ghost Tongue
Appearance isn’t everything, but let’s face it: the pale film that develops on the top of an untamed tongue doesn’t look good on anyone. This film is caused by debris that is deposited on the surface of your tongue as your digestive system de-toxifies after a hard day’s work. Boost your oral hygiene routine by adding a tongue scraper and boost your appearance at the same time: as the scraper removes the bacteria and debris, your tongue will return to its happy, healthy, perfectly-pink self!
It Makes a Great Travel Buddy
Whether it’s a road trip, business trip, or just a touch of wanderlust, you can’t always expect to take your grooming routine with you wherever you go. While you may not be able to bring your full grooming arsenal on every trip, a tongue scraper makes a perfect travel buddy no matter where you’re going or how you’re getting there. Light, compact, and made of metal or plastic, they can be easily slipped into a bag or pocket for easy travel. You don’t have to break your bucket list budget to bring this little pal along, either – you can pick one up on Amazon for less than $10
It Helps Keep Your Motor Running
Starting your day with a tongue scraping isn’t just a great way to keep the horrors of halitosis at bay — the benefits of this quick addition to your morning routine stay with you all day long. Scraping the surface of your tongue activates saliva production, getting your juices flowing first thing in the morning and aiding in digestion throughout your entire day.
It’s Faster Than Typing an Email
A proper tongue scraping only takes a matter of seconds: push the end of the scraper to the back of your tongue, press down gently, and pull forward. Repeat this process until the scrape is clean and you’ve done your whole mouth a world of good in less time than it will take you to reply to your first email of the day.
Article originally published February 25, 2017. Last updated July 26, 2018.