Copper vs Steel Tongue Scraper: Which to Choose

A dog with its tongue out

Perhaps you’ve asked, do tongue scrapers really work? Like millions of others, you’ve likely realized that the answer is a resounding YES! But this might leave you with another question: which is better, a copper or stainless steel tongue scraper? Let’s explore the best way to add this tool to your oral care routine.  

Why Tongue Scrapers are Useful

First, as a quick refresher, let’s touch on 4 benefits of using a tongue scraper:

  • It removes bacteria brought on by debris and dead cells
  • By removing bacteria, it also freshens breath by minimizing the release of stinky sulfur compounds
  • It enhances sense of taste by cleaning the surface of the tongue 
  • It improves overall health by minimizing the potential for harmful bacteria to inflame gums, cause cavities, or even lead to issues like cancer and heart disease

Tongue scraping has also been associated with improved digestion as it activates enzymes required to support the healthy break-down of food. Not only that, but it may have a positive impact on organ health and immunity—all by removing toxins and bad bacteria. Safe for the whole family (children included), there are few other tools as simple and supportive as a tongue scraper. 

It’s no wonder the ancient Ayurvedic practice has been revived in recent times. Historically, civilizations in Africa, Arabia, Europe, India, and South America took part in tongue scraping. A large variety of materials have been used throughout the years—wood, a variety of metals, plastic, and even whalebone and tortoiseshell! 

For obvious reasons, few people continue to use animal bones and shells for tongue scraping, so let’s dive into two of the most commonly used materials to consider a copper vs stainless steel tongue cleaner. 

A stainless steel tongue scraper

Copper vs Steel Tongue Scraper

Before looking at the pros and cons of both copper and stainless steel tongue scrapers, it’s important to answer a commonly-asked question:

Are Metal Tongue Scrapers Safe?

Yes, not only are they safe, but as a 2011 study reported, steel tongue scrapers not only removed bacteria like Candida albicans, Streptococcus mutans, and Staphylococcus aureus but they were superior because were less susceptible to adhesion of bacteria—meaning they didn’t linger on the scraper, possibly recontaminating the mouth. 

This answers the metal vs plastic tongue scrapers debate! Not only are metal tongue scrapers more effective, but they also outcompete plastic ones that need to be replaced more often, are prone to breaking, and can become visibly dirty. Not to mention, they’re more sustainable, too!

Copper vs Stainless Steel

Following traditional Indian medicine and Ayurvedic practices, copper tongue scrapers are a popular, authentic choice. They’re durable, effective at reaching the entire surface of the tongue, and boast natural antimicrobial properties. Unfortunately however, special care must be taken to ensure that the scraper is fully dried after each use. Even then, tarnishing is often reported. 

A stainless steel scraper is effective, and doesn’t tarnish like a copper one. Cared for properly, the durable material can be used indefinitely and when made from medical grade metal, it presents zero safety or health concerns. 

Can I just use a Toothbrush to Clean my Tongue?

While a toothbrush is somewhat effective, tongue scrapers are far better at cleaning the tongue, ridding it of bacteria, and minimizing bad breath. In fact, a toothbrush might end up pushing the debris back inside of the tongue, or irritating it with the harsh bristles. 

So, if you’re in a pinch and don’t have a dedicated tongue scraper handy, a toothbrush is an okay alternative, but a spoon might be even better until you have a stainless steel tongue scraper in your medicine cabinet! 

Additional Benefits of Stainless Steel Tongue Scrapers 

Many oral health experts, Ayurvedic practitioners, and steel tongue scrapers are quick to share the benefits of stainless steel. 

  • Especially when compared to a plastic tongue scraper, a stainless steel one is better at balancing Ayurvedic imbalances.
  • Unlike those made with gold, silver, brass, or copper, stainless steel tongue scrapers resist corrosion and are suitable for all mind-body types, or doshas, according to Dr. Deepak Chopra.  
  • Considered a safer option for many, stainless steel isn’t associated with the same potential heavy metal toxicity as copper. 
  • From an environmental perspective, a stainless steel tongue scraper—especially a plastic-free one without handles—is superior. Why? Not only is stainless steel recyclable, but steel is the most recycled material on the planet, with an average of 85% being recycled at the end of its life! 
  • Generally speaking, a stainless steel tongue scraper is more affordable than copper and, given the durability compared with plastic, it can be considered a single investment that will last several years. 

Sustainable Oral Care with Terra & Co. 

In summary, stainless steel tongue scrapers are an effective addition to your oral hygiene routine. Stainless steel is a long-lasting, sustainable material that does not pose a risk of heavy metal toxicity or tarnishing. By ridding your mouth of bacteria, the tongue scraper will help improve breath and enhance your sense of taste. If you are interested in additional natural oral care products, check out our online shop!

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