Oral health innovations are constantly evolving, which is a great thing! But, sometimes when many new products hit the market and gain popularity, you may end up wondering which ones are actually helpful and necessary. One product you may have heard about recently through the media is the tongue scraper, a usually plastic tool used to clean your tongue. In today’s blog, your Lake Orion, MI, dentist will be discussing tongue scrapers and the possible benefits of adding one to your oral health routine.
What Are Tongue Scrapers For?
Tongue scrapers are used for removing the coating on your tongue to make it cleaner. While a cleaner mouth is an overall good thing anyway, and we recommend brushing your tongue when you brush your teeth, there are two main benefits that people who sell and use tongue scrapers claim they help with:
- Reducing, through scraping, the number of bacteria present in your mouth by removing those that are residing on your tongue and
- Removing the volatile sulfur compounds, also known as VSCs, that cause bad breath from the surface of your tongue.
Do They Really Work?
Reducing the number of bacteria in your mouth is a great way to benefit your oral health and keep you from needing dental fillings in the future for the cavities that they can cause. However, there has been little conclusive evidence that tongue scrapers can achieve this goal. Studies have been done, but often with few participants, meaning that the results of the studies have to be taken with a grain of salt, as they are likely not representative of a larger population. What’s more, the findings of many studies have been contradictory, with one saying that tongue scraping does not remove bacteria, one saying that brushing your tongue does, but scraping does not, and one saying that children who scraped or brushed their tongues both had less bacteria present in their mouths.
The results for studies about VSCs have been similarly inconclusive, with some claiming that tongue scraping helps, and others saying that it doesn’t seem to make a difference. So, we don’t really know yet if tongue scraping is beneficial.
Are There Risks to Using Them?
Luckily, we do know that tongue scraping should be safe if you do decide to try it out for yourself. Just like with any new addition to your oral health routine, you should be careful when first using it to watch yourself for any abnormal issues like pain or bleeding. If you experience any tongue discomfort, you should stop using your tongue scraper as it may have a manufacturing defect that has caused a sharp edge, or you may even have an underlying condition that is making your tongue more sensitive, which your dentist can help you discover. Otherwise, though we don’t know how helpful it will be, we do know that it shouldn’t hurt!
Ask Us Your Questions!
If you ever have questions about dental healthcare, including any new additions to your routine like tongue scrapers, we want to help you find the answers! To schedule an appointment, call Lake Orion Family Dentistry in Lake Orion, MI, today at 248-693-6213.