Although not as glamorous as an unboxing video of a recent trip to the mall, or full intel to a skincare routine, oral care is just as important to your overall wellness routine. Ever since the pandemic locked down other self-care rituals of mine (monthly massages and facials, trips to the nail and hair salon, yoga classes), apart from professional cleaning, my tooth-brushing routine was something I still had control over. And being on Zoom so frequently, oral hygiene is something I noticed…a lot. So in efforts to have rid my mouth of coffee and wine stains, I began researching all that should go in an ideal oral regimen.
Aside from whitening toothpaste, an electric toothbrush, floss, and mouthwash, there is one special tool that often goes unnoticed: A tongue scraper. The notion of scraping your tongue might sound weird, but in reality it could make all the difference in both the natural and daily odor of your breath. And, although it doesn’t have to be incorporated into every routine, tongue scraping is an added bonus for everyone.
So, what exactly is tongue scraping, and what are the benefits?
Tongue scraping uses a long, thin, U-shape metal or plastic to scrape the unwanted things from your mouth — like food and dead skin cells — from the top of the tongue. Scraping away that bacteria means you’re lessening the chances it’ll grow back. Less bacteria means less cavities or chance for gum disease, by the way.
Additionally, the tongue can easily become home to fungus candida, which can show up as a coating of yellowness, patchy white spots, and a dull tongue, and is caused by bacteria. Scraping can stop fungus candida from happening in the first place—and from coming back if you already have it.
By tongue scraping twice a day (morning and night), not only will you eliminate bacteria and fight potential cavities and gum conditions, but as an added bonus, your food will taste better. A poor tasting sensation could be due to the layer(s) of coating on the tongue, preventing you from properly tasting your food.
How do I do this?
To tongue scrape, you can either purchase a thin scraper or use the back of your toothbrush (the rough, patchy side) to brush the bacteria off the tongue. The actual tool might produce less of a gag reflect than the back of a toothbrush. All you do is simply stick the tongue out and scrape it from the back to the front. Try to not go as hard as it could cause irritation or even cuts.
Speaking of dental hygiene, trying to get whiter teeth? We got you.
Photo via Alex Lau