Our oral hygiene routines usually don’t evolve very much past what we learn as children, unless something new is recommended by our dentists. Still, most people know what needs to be done: brushing their teeth for two minutes twice a day and flossing at least once a day. While some may use mouthwash or take extra steps, these are typically understood to be the basics. However, there is a new oral health tool gaining popularity, which makes it worth talking about. In today’s blog, your Rancho Cucamonga, CA, dentist will share some information about tongue scrapers and the benefits and dangers of using them, so that you can decide whether or not you want to add one to your routine.
What Is a Tongue Scraper For?
A tongue scraper is a tool, usually made from plastic and rubber, that is used for the purpose of cleaning your tongue, similar to how you might brush your tongue after brushing your teeth to clean it off. However, tongue scrapers are touted as better than just a toothbrush at doing two things:
- Cleaning your tongue of the bacteria that can cause gingivitis and tooth decay, which should put you at a lower risk for needing tooth fillings or other restorative care in the future and
- Making your breath have a more pleasant odor by removing VSCs, volatile sulfur compounds, from your tongue, improving halitosis.
How Well Does It Work?
Unfortunately, there have not been a lot of good studies done on the effects of tongue scraping. The ones that have been done must be taken with a grain of salt, as most of them sampled very small groups that are not indicative of the general population. Further, many studies have come to contradictory conclusions, with one study that looked only at children saying that tongue scraping is beneficial for removing bacteria in the mouths of children and others saying that tongue scraping does nothing, or less than a toothbrush, to remove bacteria. The same goes for studies about reduction of VSCs, with some studies saying that tongue scrapers don’t help, and others saying that they do. In conclusion, there is no conclusive evidence one way or another at this point in time.
Are There Risks Associated With Tongue Scraping?
While we don’t know if tongue scraping is all that helpful in achieving the goals of less bacteria or better breath, we do know that it shouldn’t hurt to try. Unless your tongue scraper has a defect in the form of a sharp or jagged edge, you should not feel any pain or discomfort when using it. If you do, you should see your dentist for a consultation, as you might have an underlying condition that is causing your tongue to be more sensitive. Beyond that, if you want to try adding a tongue scraper to your routine to see if it works for you, go for it!
More Questions? Call Us!
If you have any questions about your oral health routine, or if it is time for your six month checkup and cleaning, schedule a visit with your Rancho Cucamonga, CA, dentist today by calling Stadium Dental and Orthodontics at (909) 476-9678. We proudly welcome patients from Rancho Cucamonga, CA, as well as Ontario, Fontana, Upland, Rialto, and the surrounding communities.