tongue scraping

Tongue scraping: the little known secret weapon against bad breath (halitosis)!

You are on a date at a quaint little coffee house downtown. This is the second date you’ve had with this person and as the music and background noise start to pick up, your date leans in closer to you to talk where you both can hear each other better. Immediately you are struck with anxiety. You are worried about your breath. Can they smell my breath? Is it stinky?

Halitosis (also known as bad breath) is a common problem that we all face from time to time. In fact, 95 percent of us suffer from bad breath at least once in our lives. So what do you do?

Did you know that in addition to brushing your teeth daily, there is a simple oral hygiene practice you can do each day to reduce the symptoms of halitosis? It’s called tongue scraping, and everyone should be doing it!

The Anatomy of the Tongue

Let’s get right down to the root of the problem when it comes to bad breath – your tongue. Believe it or not, your tongue is actually covered by several layers. These layers are composed of bacteria, fungi, and food residue that can cause bad breath and inhibit your ability to taste. In addition to these effects, these layers can also give an unusual shade of yellow, white, or green to your tongue. By removing this bacteria, you will be able to taste your food correctly by creating direct contact with your taste buds, your tongue will return to its natural color, and you will reduce the symptoms of bad breath. So how do you remove this bacteria? With a tongue scraper, of course!

What is Tongue Scraping?

Tongue scraping is performed by using a tongue scraper. A tongue scraper is a a U-shaped device designed to “scrape” the top layer of bacteria and debris from your tongue. Tongue scrapers have been used since ancient times, and have been made of everything from whalebone to wood. Modern tongue scrapers are made from a hygienic material and come in a variety of shapes, colors, and designs.

Why Should You Scrape Your Tongue

The bacteria-laden residue on your tongue includes things like the cavity-inducing Streptococcus mutans bacterium, fungi, rotting food, and what is known as “volatile sulfur compounds,” which is also known as sulfur and creates that “rotting egg” smell. Yuck! As you can see, there are many reasons you would want to rid your tongue of this matter. The following are some of the benefits of tongue scraping:

  • Reduce bad breath: We can all agree that less bad breath is a good thing. Dr. Eric Dahlen at Padden Dental has personally witnessed patients that suffered from bad cases of halitosis improve their breath and get it smelling fresh again by incorporating tongue scraping into their brushing and flossing routine.
  • Reduce your risk of cavities and periodontal disease: Excessive bad bacteria inside of your mouth helps contribute to the build-up of plaque and tartar on your teeth, which creates the perfect environment for cavities. This build-up can also lead to gingivitis, or inflammation of your gum tissue, which can lead to periodontal disease that can result in more expensive dental visits. When was the last time you were seen by a dentist? If it’s been a while, call us today at (360) 213-1999 to get your appointment set up.
  • Reduce your risk of heart disease: Many studies suggest that there is a correlation between gum disease and heart disease.

“Tongues are not a smooth flat surface and have bumps and valleys from taste buds. This unique architecture is a perfect hiding spot/breeding ground for odor and cavity causing bacteria.” – Dr. Eric Dahlen

How to Use a Tongue Scraper

Scraping your tongue is easy and only takes a moment of your time. Apply the tongue scraper to the back of your tongue and drag it forward. Then, rinse and repeat. Make sure to get the sides of your tongue as well, not just the center! Always remember to rinse your tongue scraper thoroughly before and after each use. Dr. Eric recommends always scraping your tongue once daily.
Be sure to only use gentle pressure and never push too hard. If you are recovering from a dental procedure, ask your dentist for best advice in relation to your situation. If you want, you can always ask one of our dental hygienists or Dr. Eric Dahlen for a quick tutorial.

Where Do I Buy a Tongue Scraper?

You can always stop by our neighborhood dentist office, Padden Dental, and check if we are offering any promotions or give-aways for tongue scrapers! We often supply these for the community, and if you catch us at the right time, we will give you one at no cost. Tongue scrapers are relatively inexpensive, and can be found at any local drugstore. It doesn’t matter what brand, color, or material you choose, just find a tongue scraper you like and get scraping today!

Are you due for a dental check-up? We can’t wait to see you in our office, so schedule your appointment online today.


About Eric Dahlen

Eric Dahlen, DMD Padden Dental

Dr. Eric Dahlen is your local family dentist and enjoys making same day crowns in Vancouver, WA. Need a new smile? Are you suffering due to poorly shaped or damaged teeth? Dr. Eric has a special interest in endodontics. “I like endodontics because it is usually associated with a patient in pain. I like to get people out of pain and by doing so, their fear of dentistry reduces."

Give me a call today to schedule a consultation in our Padden Dental office by calling (360) 213-1999.

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