People have understood the importance of brushing and flossing for years, and now more and more are discovering the importance of cleaning their tongue using a tongue scraper. Though often overlooked as a source of oral health problems, the surface of the tongue can provide the largest area in your mouth for bacteria to thrive.
To ensure you get your tongue nice and clean, pick up a tongue scraper and then follow these cleaning tips.
Gargle Warm Water
The film along your tongue can be quite hard and tough to move, especially if you have never used a tongue scraper before. To make the cleaning process easier, swish some warm water around in your mouth to loosen and soften things up. Spit the water out afterwards; it will contain bacteria.
Stick Out Your Tongue
Some people keep the tongue in their mouths and move the tongue scraper right back. That can work fine, but it can be a little tougher to see what you're doing, and many people find that it's easier to prompt a gag reflex by doing so. Instead, stick your tongue out as far as possible before you begin to clean it.
Know Where to Target
In general, the front of the tongue does not require as much attention as the back since talking and eating regularly brush the front of the tongue against your teeth, which prevents any build-ups. You want to concentrate on the back of the tongue, but make sure you stop where the rougher surface of the tonsillar tissue begins. You shouldn't feel yourself going over any bumps as you scrape.
Use Firm and Even Strokes
When you start to use your scraper, position it at the back of the tongue, then slowly but firmly draw it across the surface. You want to make sure you avoid pressing down too hard or moving the scraper too roughly; this can irritate the tongue. All you should need is six to eight firm scrapes to get rid of everything that you can. Always move the scraper forward instead of rubbing it backwards and forwards to avoid spreading bacteria around.
Rinse Between Scrapes
After each stroke of the scraper along the length of your tongue, you're likely to notice a build-up of film along the scraper's surface. That means it is doing its job, but you don't want to put that gunk right back in your mouth. Rinse it under the tap or dip it in a small glass of mouthwash to have the end clean for every stroke.
Talk to your dentist for more tips on cleaning your tongue.