A tongue scraper will reduce bad breath more than cleaning your teeth will.
In fact, even cleaning your tongue with a toothbrush will1,2 according to the research.
But a tongue scraper is far and away the best option as far as mechanical means of reducing bad breath. You'll find the secret to its effective use below.
It is a sensible option for reducing bad breath and giving you a clean fresh mouth. Your tongue occupies one-third of your mouth and the surface of it is a prime spot for growing bacteria.
However, it is a short term solution and should not be your only method of treating bad breath.
Although a scraper does effectively remove the coating on your white tongue, if not used correctly it makes little difference to the bacterial count.3 A 2004 study showed that tongue scrapers remove the debris on your tongue where the bacteria live but not the beasties themselves.
However, to my way of thinking, it makes sense to remove that tongue coating. That is where the bacteria live. Check out the Tongue Scraper Shop below.
Helpful advise comes with the range of tongue cleaners on this TheraBreath page. Here you'll find all sorts of bits and pieces for treating bad breath, including several different models of tongue cleaners. These guys do understand bad breath and give useful information on how to get the most out of any tongue cleansing implement.
The secret is to first scrape the tongue to remove the mucas layer on the tongue which the bacteria hide under. This allows the toothpaste to get down to where the anaerobic bacteria live. Unless you remove the mucus layer first, you will NOT be able to reach these bacteria. After that intial scraping, clean the tongue widget, then put a dot of toothpaste on the scraper and apply it as far back as you can. Leave it there while you brush your teeth and then rinse your mouth.
You'll will find that far more effective than simply scraping away. If you want fresh breath - do it properly!
Cleaning the tongue does improve the taste within your mouth3 - the experts at the Journal of Clinical Periodontology say so!
And don't you feel that your mouth is cleaner and fresher when it tastes good and you can't see that furry tongue.
These tongue cleaning widgets can be shaped like mini-shovels or a loop and are usually made from either plastic or metal - silver and copper are common choices. Each type has its supporters.
Dr Tungs tongue cleaner is made from stainless steel and has comfortable grip handles for easier use and to get right to the back of the tongue. Stainless steel makes it easy to keep your tongue scraper clean and germ free.
Dr Tungs Probreath tongue cleaner has a free replacable head.
Tongue Sweeper Pro is another brand made from stainless steel (medical grade stainless steel). This is what one user said: "Its light and the metal is thinner than I was expecting, but otherwise its great! You won't have to replace it like the plastics that are meant to be replaced every 3 months."
Copper Tongue Scraper Cleaner from the Asseenontvguys. Copper has been used for centuries. This model is very flexible which is fine because you're not supposed to put a lot of pressure on. These guys frequently have a "buy one, get one free" deal.
Therabreath have a dual edge cleaner as well as an anti-gag model.
Whatever brand you choose, you can bet that someone out there think it is the best type they've ever tried whilst someone else rates it poorly. Best bet - because they're so cheap - is if you don't like your first choice, try another brand.
Sooner or later, you'll hit the jackpot with the tongue scraper that suits YOU.
1. Outhouse TL, Fedorowicz Z, Keenan JV, Al-Alawi R. A Cochrane systematic review finds tongue scrapers have short-term efficacy in controlling halitosis. Gen Dent. 2006 Sep-Oct;54(5):352-9.
2. Pedrazzi V, Sato S, de Mattos Mda G, Lara EH, Panzeri H. Tongue-cleaning methods: a comparative clinical trial employing a toothbrush and a tongue scraper. J Periodontol. 2004 Jul;75(7):1009-12.
3. Quirynen M, Avontroodt P, Soers C, Zhao H, Pauwels M, van Steenberghe D. Impact of tongue cleansers on microbial load and taste. J Clin Periodontol. 2004 Jul;31(7):506-10.