Oral hygiene typically consists of regular visits to a dentist in Mountain View, CA, as well as home hygiene with bruising, flossing and rinsing. Many people also practice tongue scraping, and there are many over-the-counter tongue scraper tools available on the market. But is tongue scraping really necessary, and how much of a difference can it possibly make?
Tongue scraping is a process where a tongue scraper is run down the length of the tongue, from front to back. The intent of tongue scraping is to remove particles from the surface of the tongue that might otherwise lead to tooth decay. Plastic tongue scrapers are available for sale. Most of them are disposable, meant for one-time use. It’s worth noting that using this small, disposable plastic tool can add up in terms of cost and environmental concerns. If it turns out that tongue scraping isn’t necessary, that cost can be eliminated.
Why do People Practice Tongue Scraping?
The surface of the tongue is covered with a mucous membrane and papillae. Papillae are nodules of tongue tissue that surround the taste buds. When the tongue is scraped, mucus may be removed from the surface of the tongue, as well as tiny particles of food debris that might have been missed during brushing and flossing. Granted, it can be satisfying to see discolored mucus removed from the tongue. Still, that doesn’t mean that tongue scraping is an essential part of oral hygiene.
When Tongue Scraping is Useful
There are times when tongue scraping might be helpful—albeit not necessarily essential. If a person has an unusual amount of mucus build-up, has a yeast infection, smokes or has chronic bad breath, tongue scraping might offer temporary relief.
Your dentist in Mountain View, CA won’t insist that you practice tongue scraping at home. No research shows that tongue scraping makes the difference between a healthy mouth and one filled with bad bacteria. At the same time, there’s no research that indicates tongue scraping causes harm, as long as it is done correctly.
If you choose to practice tongue scraping, make sure you use a dedicated, sterile tool in the recommended manner. But if you do have a coated tongue, or chronic halitosis, these issues need to be addressed by your dentist. No amount of tongue scraping will save damaged teeth.