Do You Scrape Your Tongue Before or After Brushing?

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Why You Should Scrape Your Tongue

Our favorite topic is talking about different ways that people can take care of their dental health. But we typically concentrate on brushing and flossing every day, which foods and beverages to avoid, how often to visit your dentist, and similar types of tips.

One thing that we’ve never really touched on is using either a tongue scraper or toothbrush to scrape your tongue. A lot of people ask us if this is effective and whether you should use a tongue scraper before or after brushing. Today, we’re going to answer these questions:

When Should You Scrape Your Tongue?

A lot of people wonder whether you should scrape your tongue before or after you brush your teeth. The truth is that it doesn’t really matter. Whether you use a tongue scraper or only have your toothbrush available depends on your personal preference. The only thing that really matters is that you scrape your tongue at least twice per day because it will help you get rid of the bacteria that causes bad breath, cavities, and other dental issues.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of scraping your tongue as part of your oral hygiene routine:

Improves Sense of Taste

A buildup of harmful bacteria on your tongue can actually damage your sense of taste. Tongue scrapers will remove this bacteria, which can greatly reduce this barrier. Not only will your tongue feel more enhanced, but you may also be able to better distinguish between sweet, salty, bitter, and sour sensations.

Improves the Appearance

When bacteria and plaque have built up on your tongue… well, let’s just say it doesn’t look great. It should come as no surprise that removing this stuff will improve your tongue’s appearance. It can change your tongue from a white, unhealthy coating back to the pink coloring that it’s supposed to have.

Removes Harmful Bacteria

Your tongue can be filled with bacteria such as Mutans streptococci and Lactobacilli. These bacteria cause bad breath and dental decay. Scraping your tongue twice a day for a period of at least a week has been shown to reduce these types of bacteria in your mouth. This was backed up by a study done in 2005.

Reduces Bad Breath

Scraping your teeth will never replace brushing, but it’s very effective at supplementing the job. In fact, a study in 2004 found that tongue scraping was actually more effective at removing odor-causing bacteria than brushing your teeth. Since that’s only a single study, you should take that with a grain of salt (of course, salt’s bad for you, so be careful about that, too…)

Improves Overall Health

One thing you need to remember about bacteria is that it can spread to other parts of your body. Bacteria that’s sitting on your tongue could be transferred to your fingers, your nasal cavity, or, obviously, into your lungs. The longer the bacteria sits there, the more likely it is to make you sick. Quickly getting rid of the bacteria will help improve your overall health.

Keeps Others Healthy

If you have bacteria on your tongue. If you don’t get rid of it, it can be transferred to another person and make them sick. This can be done to a significant other through kissing or to a child or friend with the sharing of utensils or similar actions. Scraping your tongue to remove the bacteria will help prevent these kinds of things from occurring.

Tongue Scrapers Vs. Toothbrushes

Another thing that people are always curious about is whether they should use tongue scrapers or their own toothbrush to scrape their tongue. For the most part, this is another personal preference. Both are very effective in removing bacteria and plaque from your tongue.

That being said, there was a single study done back in 2004 that suggested that tongue scrapers removed 30% more volatile sulfur compounds than soft-bristled toothbrushes. That may not be enough of an advantage for certain dentists or dental patients, but it’s something to consider.

Contact Dr. Ferullo for Your Next Dental Appointment

The St. Petersburg dentist office of Dr. Ferullo can provide you with proper dental techniques to help you prevent cavities, tooth loss, and other dental hygiene issues. If you have any questions about scraping your tongue or would like to schedule an appointment for a whitening treatment or other dental issues, call our office at (727) 822-8101 today.

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