More and more people are starting to understand the importance of keeping their tongues clean. We all know that teeth and gums should be kept healthy, but the tongue can also harbour bacteria, and cleaning that bacteria away can improve your oral health.
It's possible to use a toothbrush to clean your tongue, but you should strongly consider picking up a tongue scraper instead. Here are just four reasons why.
1. More Effective
First and foremost, cleaning your tongue using a tongue scraper is more effective than cleaning your tongue using a toothbrush. One study conducted in 2004 compared the reduction of volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs) along the tongue using either method. Participants showed a 75 per cent reduction in VSCs when a tongue scraper was used versus a 45 per cent reduction in VSCs when they used a toothbrush. Clearly any reduction in VSCs is going to help prevent halitosis and improve your oral health, but the tongue scraper certainly seems to perform the role more effectively.
2. Less Abrasive
The main problem with using a toothbrush instead of a tongue scraper is that a toothbrush was not designed for that purpose. This is one of the reasons why a toothbrush is less effective; toothbrushes are made to brush plaque from teeth and get into all areas. Using your toothbrush on your tongue means having to brush backwards and forwards, while using a scraper means simply moving the scraper along the tongue from back to front. Without all that brushing, the tongue isn't irritated nearly as much.
3. Easier to Clean
Even if a toothbrush was able to keep your tongue just as clean as a tongue scraper, you'd have a very hard time keeping the toothbrush itself clean. The build-up that develops along the tongue can get caught between the bristles of a toothbrush, and it's very hard to remove all that gunk after you're finished. This means the brush will become less hygienic over time. The surface of a tongue scraper is made from smooth plastic, so cleaning is easy.
4. Easier to Manoeuvre
Finally, using a tongue scraper tends to be easier than using a toothbrush. From the tip of the bristles to the back of the head, toothbrushes are much thicker than the end of a tongue scraper, so it can be tougher to move one towards the back of your mouth within hitting the gag reflex, especially when you need to keep moving the brush back and forth.
Talk with a dentist if you're concerned about your oral health care routine.