Why you should brush your tongue

Many people have the notion that brushing and flossing their teeth is all it takes to prevent bad breath and improve their oral health. But that is far from the truth. To effectively improve your oral health, you have to clean your tongue and teeth.

Just like the teeth, bacterial and plaque can also build up in the tongue.  The tongue has cervices that harmful bacterial can hide until they are removed. If you have a habit of not brushing your tongue, the plaque and bacteria in your tongue will rapidly increase. In the end, they may cause oral conditions like cavities and tooth decay.

 In this article, we are going to be exploring why brushing the tongue is important, the most effective way to brush the tongue, and the benefits of brushing the tongue.

Why rising isn’t effective

Rinsing the mouth is an excellent way to get rid of food remains. But it isn’t effective in reducing the bacterial load and plaque in the tongue. Even if you rinse your mouth or use mouthwash many times, you won’t be able to completely eliminate these microorganisms. You see, these microbes stick to the tongue. And, even if you can destroy the outer layer of the bacterial, the inner layer will still remain intact.   

The Right way to brush your tongue with a toothbrush

Below is an overview of how to use your toothbrush to clean your tongue.

Choose the right toothbrush

See, you don’t have to pick the toughest toothbrush on the market to clean your teeth and tongue. Dentists usually recommend toothbrushes with a soft bristle, as they are effective in removing plaque and bacteria. To get the best result, you should use an electric toothbrush.

Stick your tongue out

All you need to do here is to stick out your tongue as far as you can.

Brush your tongue

Start from the back of your tongue and brush forward. Keep brushing until every part of your tongue is covered.  Note that you don’t have to put too much pressure to remove plaque and microbes. Applying the right of pressure will help ensure that you remove the plaque and build-up without injuring your tongue.

 Spit it out

 Spit out the saliva in your mouth after brushing your tongue and rinse thoroughly with warm water.

Discolored tongue

If your tongue is discolored, you should brush it with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water (5-caps of water and 1 cap and hydrogen peroxide). Make sure you rinse your mouth thoroughly after brushing your tongue with this mixture.  

How to use a tongue scraper

While a toothbrush and a tongue scraper are both great at cleaning the tongue, studies have shown that a tongue scraper is a bit more effective than a toothbrush. After a review of two studies, experts found that tongue scrapers are more effective at reducing plaque and the sulfur compound that is linked to bad breath.

Below is an overview of how to use a tongue scraper.

 Pick a high-quality model

The market is flooded with different types of tongue scrapers. To get the best result, you should pick a high-quality model with a sturdy handle. To be on the safe side, you should buy from reputable brands.

 Using the tongue scraper

Stick your tongue out and place the tongue scraper on your tongue. Press it down and move it back on forth. Be careful not to apply too much pressure so that you don’t injure your tongue.


Spit out the saliva in your mouth and rinse your mouth with warm water. Put the tongue scrapper under running water to remove debris and bacterial stuck on it.


You may have to scrape your tongue 3 to 5 times during a brushing session to reduce bacterial load and plaque. Just like a toothbrush, you have to use your tongue scrapper twice daily.

Benefits of brushing the tongue

Below are some of the benefits of brushing the tongue and using a tongue scraper.  

Prevents bad breath

A study conducted in 2004 found that using a tongue scraper can help reduce sulfur compound in the tongue that is linked to bad breath. With a toothbrush, you can remove up to 45% of the compound. With a tongue scraper, you will be able to remove over 75% of the compound. Since a tongue scraper can remove more microbes, plaque, and sulfur compounds, you should consider opting for it.  

Reduce harmful bacterial

A 2014 Study found that cleaning the tongue can help reduce the amount of bacterial in the mouth. As mentioned in the study, the percentage of bacterial in the mouth will remain low if you have a habit of brushing your teeth and tongue.

Reduce plaque

 A study conducted in 2013 found that using a toothbrush or a tongue scraper can help reduce plaque levels. As you likely know, when plaque levels are low, one will be less likely to develop oral conditions like cavities.

 Makes your mouth feel fresher

 According to the ADA (American Dental Association) cleaning the tongue regularly can help reduce bad breath. Even more, it can make your mouth feel fresh and clean.

 When to seek medical attention

Be sure to seek prompt medical attention if you notice the following on your tongue.

  • If it has a black and yellow appearance
  • Presence of white patches
  • It appears glossy and smooth
  • Presence of lumps that don’t improve after a couple of days or weeks

Final note

The importance of cleaning the tongue cannot be overemphasized. Multiple studies have shown that cleaning the tongue can prevent bad breath, reduce plaque and bacterial build-up and make our mouth feel fresh and clean.

As mentioned above, toothbrushes and tongue scrappers can both be used to clean the tongue. But when it comes to effectiveness, tongue scrapers are way superior.

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