Tongue cleaning is an important but often ignored part of our oral hygiene routine. Keeping the tongue clean helps us avoid bad breath
and even cavities. Each tongue is different and has a different shape and size. Did you know that tongue prints, just like our fingerprints are unique?
So choose the type of tongue scraper according to your needs.
V shaped Tongue scraper
These are meant for those you need something more flexible. They are available as a straight strip, which can be folded to suit the width of your mouth and are easy to use and store. The downside is that since they are made of plastic, sterilization is not possible and they need frequent replacement e.g. scrapeyourtongue tongue scraper.
U shaped tongue scrapers
These are the most common type of tongue cleaners available in the market. They are cheap, lightweight and easy to use. The metal ones can even be sterilized in hot water. Some patients may find the V shape a bit big to fit into their mouth comfortably. E.g. Terra copper tongue scraper
T shaped scraper
T shaped scrapers are excellent for people with limited dexterity. These come with a smaller triangular shaped head and rows of circular edges. This is like scraping your tongue multiple times with a single stroke . These brushes have a long handle which easily goes into the back of your mouth and cleans your tongue gently. This is especially good for people with a gag reflex. E.g. Ajanta tongue scraper, MeeMee for kids.
Tongue cleaning brushes
Just like tooth brushes, tongue cleaning brushes are also available. These have small elevated structures which gently scrub your papillae and remove all the dirt and bacteria. They are made up of plastic or silicone. Silicone brushes are more flexible and provide gentle but effective cleaning e.g. Orabrush and Gubb.
A lot of new toothbrushes also come with tongue scrapers on the back e.g. Colgate zig zag toothbrush or Oral B 123 neem extract toothbrush. These too provide effective cleaning while being lighter on the pocket.
If you cannot find the above cleaners or don’t want to invest in a separate device, you can always use your trusted toothbrush. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
to gently scrape your tongue and remove all the bacteria and debris. Toothbrushes are meant to clean the smooth hard surface of your teeth. So be gentle while using them on your soft tongue—E.g. Colgate slim soft toothbrush. But preferably always use a separate tongue cleaner as toothbrushes are ineffective in cleaning your tongue.
Cleaning your tongue
Now that you know which tongue cleaner to select, remember these few points while using them
- Clean the sides of your tongue, not just the top. The sides are always in touch with your teeth
- and if left unclean, may cause cavities.
- Stick your tongue out while cleaning it. This will help you reach the back of your tongue with less gagging.
- Always move your tongue scarper/ cleaner out and away from your tongue. Use long strokes in a single outward direction.
- Don’t press your cleaners while cleaning. This might damage your taste buds.
- It is normal to sense a change in the taste of your food and drink after cleaning your tongue. This is because of the removal of bacteria and their products from your tongue.