Hygiene practices are constantly evolving, which is largely a good thing! However, sometimes when new products become popular, you may find yourself not knowing if they are truly as necessary and helpful as some people say they are. So, in today’s blog, your Mansfield, TX, dentist will be discussing a tool that has been gaining popularity, the tongue scraper, and the potential benefits associated with scraping your tongue.
What Are They Used For?
Tongue scrapers are used for cleaning off the coating on the surface of your tongue, similar to when you brush your tongue after brushing your teeth. However, tongue scrapers are meant to do two specific jobs better than just a toothbrush:
- Cleaning the bacteria off of your tongue to prevent cavities and
- Cleaning the odor causing VSCs (volatile sulfur compounds) off of your tongue to prevent bad breath.
For these reasons, tongue scraping is claimed to be a helpful step in any oral health routine, but, you may be wondering, do they really work?
Do They Actually Work?
Preventing bad breath (halitosis) as well as cavities and the need for future dental fillings are noble goals. Unfortunately, the results of the few studies that have been done on tongue scraping are far from conclusive. While some say that tongue scraping really does get rid of some VSCs, others say they make no difference except to make people feel like their mouths are cleaner. Similarly, especially since the studies have used small sample sizes that aren’t indicative of our total population, there has been no solid evidence to show that scraping your tongue would reduce bacteria, though one study that sampled only children’s mouths said it did help to lessen the bacteria present. So, the results have been, overall, inconclusive.
Are There Any Associated Dangers?
The good news is, even though we don’t know if tongue scraping is truly beneficial, we do know that there aren’t really any downsides. Of course, if scraping your tongue is painful for you, you should stop immediately and seek dental attention, as there may be a jagged edge on your scraper, or you may even have an underlying condition that makes your tongue more sensitive. If this is the case, your dentist can help you to figure out what needs to be done. Otherwise, tongue scraping should be a low risk addition to your usual oral healthcare routine, as long as it doesn’t take the place of any other good habits.
If You Have More Questions, Ask Us!
If you ever find yourself wondering if you do enough when it comes to your oral health routine, give us a call! In our office, we can help with any questions or concerns you may have about tongue scraping, flossing, brushing, or anything else related to your dental health. If you would like to schedule a consultation, call Mansfield Dental Associates at 817-473-6227.