5 Things a Tongue Scraper Does Better than Your Toothbrush

Person sticking their tongue out

There’s an oral care tool that has really become popular in recent years: a tongue scraper. If you have one at home, you might be like many people asking, is it better to brush or scrape your tongue? Well, if a toothbrush was perfect for supporting the tongue, we wouldn’t really need a tongue scraper, would we? Let’s look at 5 things a tongue scraper does better than your toothbrush. 

What Exactly is a Tongue Scraper?

While the practice was relatively unknown in the Western world until the early 1980s, tongue scraping isn’t exactly new. Cultures in Africa, Arabia, Europe, India, and South America have been known to scrape or brush their tongues for centuries. Often using wood, metals, ivory, mother-of-pearl, and even whalebone and tortoise shell, these flexible materials would be used to remove plaque from the surface of the tongue. 

Known as ‘Jihwa Prakshalana’ in Ayurvedic medicine, it was recognized that a healthy tongue contributes to the health of the whole body. Combined with other oral care practices—like brushing, flossing, and oil pulling—tongue scraping can further remove food debris, fungi, dead cells, toxins, and bacteria from the mouth. 

But can’t you brush your tongue with a toothbrush? Does a tongue scraper work better than a toothbrush? Let’s explore the two. 

Tongue Scraper vs Toothbrush

Welcome to the toothbrush vs tongue scraper throwdown! 

On this side of the ring, we have the Brilliant Black Toothbrush, known to impart natural antibacterial properties, scrub away bacteria, tenderly massage gums, absorb toxins, and lift stains!

And here’s the toothbrush’s opponent, the tongue scraper! She’s a gentle tool, but tough on bad breath-causing bacteria! 

While it’s clear they both bring a lot to the match, dancing around the ring with both of them is best for a clean, healthy mouth. Because toothbrushes are often equipped with soft or medium bristles, they’re perfect for tooth enamel but won’t clean the tongue’s rough crevices as well as we’d like them to. 

So, when it comes to a clean tongue and a mouth free of halitosis-causing bacteria, a toothbrush AND tongue scraper should be used.

Now you’re probably wondering, do you use a tongue scraper before or after brushing your teeth? The choice is yours—using a tongue scraper before or after bruising doesn’t matter. It’s just important that you use it, and use it regularly! There are millions of bacteria living in our mouths, so irregular tongue scraping won’t have nearly the positive impact of tongue scraping twice a day. 

Now, let’s take a look at what twice-a-day tongue scraping can accomplish. 

Terra & Co Tongue Scraper and Pulling Oils

5 Things a Tongue Scraper Does Better than a Toothbrush

1. Improve Your Sense of Taste

Think of a tongue covered in plaque. That doesn’t give tastebuds much of a chance in detecting bitter, sweet, salty, and sour sensations, does it? Research has found that cleaning the tongue—especially with a tongue scraper—results in significant taste sensation improvement

2. Return the Tongue to its Natural Color and Appearance

Similarly, all that plaque can really cause the tongue to change its appearance. If you’ve noticed that your tongue has taken on a white coat, scraping can help to return the tongue to a healthy pink color. 

3. Reduce the Amount of Bacteria in the Mouth

Bacteria like Mutans streptococci and Lactobacilli are known to turn the mouth (and tongue especially) into their new home. Unfortunately for us, these are the types of bacteria often associated with dental decay and bad breath. Using a tongue scraper can rid your mouth of these dangerous bacteria, and arguably do so more effectively than a toothbrush. 

4. Curb Bad Breath

So, does a tongue scraper help bad breath? Yes, absolutely. And it’s all thanks to its ability to remove bacteria.  

In fact, studies often indicate that toothbrushing alone does nothing to address bad breath. On the other hand, a tongue scraper is effective in reducing bacteria on the tongue, including those that release volatile sulfur compounds—which are responsible for bad breath. 

5. Improve Overall Oral Health 

Because a tongue scraper is so successful at ridding the mouth of bacteria, it can also help to prevent gum disease, cavities, and other oral conditions. 

Both a Tongue Scraper AND a Toothbrush are Better for Your Mouth

If you’re wondering whether you should brush or scrape your tongue, be sure to do both. As their names suggest, a toothbrush will take care of your teeth, while a tongue scraper is the best tool for your tongue. If you’re ready to restore your tongue to its natural appearance, rid your mouth of bacteria, and curb bad breath, give the Gentle Green Tongue Scraper a try. As one of the most sustainable oral care tools out there, it should last a decade and can be recycled at the end of its life. 

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