A tongue scraper or rake is a tool with a plastic or metal loop in one end, which is used to clean the tongue by taking away the outside layer of plaque.
It has been suggested that they have been used since ancient times in India and China.
Bad breath, also called halitosis, is the buildup of plaque, and it can be prevented with a tongue scraper.
Here are the steps for successfully cleaning a white tongue:
- Place the scraper flush against your tongue’s surface, and make slow sweeping strokes from the back to the front, starting at the base of your tongue
- Smear a small blob of toothpaste or gel to the top of your tongue cleaner once the surface fragments from your white tongue has been removed.
- Gently cover the surface of your tongue with the toothpaste.
- Let the toothpaste to stay on the surface of your tongue as long as you can, once your tongue is coated.
- It’s best to leave the toothpaste on the surface of your tongue, while you brush your teeth normally.
Tongue cleaning is not a new practice, despite its recent introduction in the US. Dentists have long encouraged their patients to brush their tongues or use mouthwash.
Trying to brush the hard-to-reach back of the tongue, however, sets off a gag reflex, and mouthwashes cannot break through the tongue plaque. A clean tongue is important, since its surface is a major breeding ground for the bacteria and plaque that later attacks teeth and gums.
Studies show that 90 percent of bad breath problems comes from the stinking gases created by bacteria on the surface of the tongue. Did you know that more than 170 different types of bacteria flourish in your mouth?
These bacteria feed on bits of decaying food particles left on teeth and tongue after meals. That is why scraping away the foul-smelling germs and other debris from the tongue is crucial not only to eliminating bad breath, but also gum disease, dental decay, plaque, sore throats and colds.
Mouthwashes, sprays, internal capsules and regular mint candies are ineffective in combating bad breath: they just mask the odor. Besides tongue scrapers, there are special toothbrushes designed to get into the crevices of the tongue.
You can also find tongue-cleaning gels, which work better than toothpaste since they are specially formulated for tongue cleaning. You can find many of these tools at TheraBreath.com.